Webby Awards

Web Design & Development Guide

Webby Awards


The Webby Awards

Webby Awards logo
Awarded for Excellence in websites
Presented by International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences
First awarded 1994 (original version)
1996 (current incarnation)
Official website

Presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, The Webby Awards are a set of awards presented to the "world's best websites". The awards have been given out since 1996. There is also a second set of awards called the People's Voice Awards for the same categories which are given by popular vote.[1]


The first Webby Awards [2] were given out from 1994 to 1996 by the World Wide Web Organization [3], an organization that was dedicated to the promotion of the Web. It was largely decommissioned sometime after July, 1997. The organization was chiefly sponsored by WebMagic, the Internet business developer that has built many well known online businesses, including Toys.com (which became part of eToys), and Pets.com. Additional sponsorship was provided by Cisco Systems and ADC Telecommunications.

The second, and current, Webby Awards were founded in 1996 by Tiffany Shlain, and sponsored by The Web magazine. When The Web ceased to exist in 1998, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) was formed to take over. [4]

The organizations that created the first and second Webby Awards were not related to one another. It is not known if Tiffany Shlain was inspired by the first Webby Awards or if she came up with the concept independently.

Awards granted

The Webby Awards and The People's Voice Awards have been awarded each spring (since 1996), and The Webby Business Awards and Honorable Mentions each fall (since 2003). [5]

The Webby Awards require a $250 fee from all websites which they nominate, which some blogs see as an unnecessary burden. [6]

The Webby Awards categories

In each category, two awards are handed out: a Webby Award selected by a panel of judges, and a People's Voice Award selected by the votes of visitors to the The Webby Awards site.

  • Activism: Sites facilitating political change, social movement, rights, public education, or revolution.
  • Best Practices: Sites demonstrating unparalleled excellence in six areas:
  1. Content
  2. Structure & Navigation
  3. Visual Design
  4. Interactivity
  5. Functionality
  6. Overall Experience
  • Broadband: Sites fully integrating bandwidth-intensive interactive content.
  • Commerce: Sites dedicated to selling goods and products online, or using a 'particularly innovative' take on e-commerce.
  • Community: Sites creating/facilitating online community, connectedness and communication around shared interests.
  • Education: Sites promoting education or providing learning materials, for children or adults.
  • Fashion: Sites dedicated to personal style, clothing, design, and accessories.
  • Film: Sites dedicated to preservation, celebration and presentation of film and film culture.
  • Finance: Sites providing financial services and/or information.
  • Games: Sites dedicated to (the culture of) computer gaming.
  • Government & Law: Sites dedicated to legal and government matters.
  • Health: Sites dedicated to improving personal health and well-being.
  • Humor: Sites dedicated to comedy or the art of laughter.
  • Kids: Sites created for "the under-18 set".
  • Lifetime Achievement: An honorary award granted to individuals who have been integral to the growth of the Web.
  • Living: Sites providing information and resources that allow people to live on their own terms.
  • Music: Sites dedicated to the distribution and presentation of music or its culture.
  • NetArt: Sites that integrate art and technology, exploring and expanding the distinctive capacity of the medium.
  • News: Sites dedicated to announcing and tracking recent goings-on.
  • Personal Web Site: Sites created by an individual about themselves, or sites dedicated to an individual.
  • Politics: Sites providing political information.
  • Print & Zines: Sites dedicated to the written word, including online versions of print publications.
  • Radio: Sites with ties to a radio network, station, or program.
  • Rising Star: Given to the site with the greatest percent increase in visitors from April to May of the year in question, according to Nielsen//NetRatings data. Sites must meet a minimum cutoff of 500K unique visitors for April and May to be considered.
  • Science: Sites dedicated to scientific exploration and news.
  • Services: Sites that enable real world activities online.
  • Spirituality: Sites dedicated to the spirit or the soul, or on any Divine power.
  • Sports: Sites dedicated to athletics.
  • Technical Achievement: Sites implementing technology that pushes the envelope, inviting visitors to believe in what once seemed impossible.
  • Top Global Properties (Top U.S. Properties): Given to the site that draws the most visitors in the 14 countries that Nielsen//NetRatings measure (the U.S.).
  • Travel: Sites dedicated to travel services and information.
  • TV: Sites which are online counterparts of television programs or networks.
  • Weird: Sites so forward thinking they seem strange when viewed without the future in mind.
  • Youth: (see Kids)

The Webby Business Awards categories

  • Automotive
  • Creative Services
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Beverage
  • "Good Deeds"
  • Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals
  • Information Technology
  • Media/Entertainment
  • Marketing & Communications
  • Professional Services
  • Retail
  • Technical Services
  • Telecommunications
  • Travel/Tourism

Honorable Mention Categories

  • Branding & Design
  • Cost-Cutting/Operational Efficiency
  • Customer Relationship Management/Customer Loyalty & Retention
  • Integration of Online/Offline Experience
  • Product Customization/Personalization
  • Sales Lead Generation/Increased Sales

Acceptance Speeches

The Webbys are famous for limiting recipients to five word speeches, which are often humorous. For example, in 2006 Cute Overload's was "not bad for posting kittens" and TripAdvisor's was "because some hotels really suck". At the 2007 awards, David Bowie's speech was "I only get five words? Shit, that was five. Four more there. That's three. Two."[7]


San Francisco blog SFist has charged that the Webby Awards are essentially a Who's Who scam, as they require a "processing fee" be paid for award consideration.[8]

External links

Mobile Web
Web developer
Web directory
Web engineering
Webby Awards
World Wide Web Consortium

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