The best of the Web

On July 18, for the fifth year in a row, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Science will host the Webby Awards – a judged industry award program for the best Web sites in a wide range of categories. Admittedly, this event will lack the glamour of the Oscars, and, thankfully, Joan and Melissa Rivers will be nowhere near the red carpet for this event. It’s a celebration of Web geeks – the designers, programmers, marketers, and content generators who have made the Web media what it is today using the latest tools and devices to get their messages across.

So what if J-Lo won’t be making an appearance in a see through dress? Who cares if the winners are pasty Web geeks, squinting in the spotlight, Star Trek transponders sparkling on their tuxedo lapels and crinolin dresses as they make their way to the podium to reap the respect and recognition of their colleagues?

Newpapers have their Pulitzers, the movies have their Oscars, Golden Globes, and the Web media has their Webby awards. It’s fitting when you consider that more people read The Onion online every week than went to see Battle Field Earth.

It’s not your typical awards show, either. Unlike the boring Oscars, where winners try to spit out as many names and thank-yous as they can in 30 seconds, Webby winners are allowed just five words to express their gratitude – which is okay, because "live long and prosper" is just four words.

There are five nominees in 27 different Web categories, ranging from activism, to humour, to science, to spirituality, to broadband. A full list of categories is available at .

While the winners are chosen by a panel of judges handpicked form the industry, there is also a people’s choice award. Ballots will be made available by the site about a month before the awards show.

Before you can vote, though, you’ll want to review the 135 different sites selected. These are my own personal favourites.

Activism: – This is the official Web site of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a personal belief and the only entry that didn’t have a noticeable U.S. bent. If you are against animal testing or animal research, it might be a good idea to brush up on your list of companies to boycott.

In close second is , mainly for their coverage of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas protest coverage in Quebec City in late April.

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