Wellington first host of Webbys

Wellington had the honour of kicking off the worldwide 2003 Webby Awards event, last week. Without a physical venue this year, the Webby Awards, for creativity in website design, held a party "rolling around the world" over June 5 and 6, New Zealand time.

Wellington had the honour of kicking off the worldwide 2003 Webby Awards event, last week.

Without a physical venue this year, the Webby Awards, for creativity in website design, held a party “rolling around the world” over Thursday and Friday New Zealand time.

Wellington, as earliest in the time-zone stakes, was the first of the party venues, hosted by sole New Zealand entrant Lucire, in the fashion category. Lucire won neither prize in the category.

A select dinner was presided over by Jack Yan, CEO of Lucire publishers JY&A Media, on Thursday evening.

Prior to the day of awards celebration, intending hosts around the world could log on to the award website and download a party package, featuring drink recipes, badges, signage, and electronic invitations, or “e-vites.”

Announcement of the winners via the website, on Friday afternoon (NZ time), were strung out at one or two per 20 minutes. Some winners gave brief “acceptance speeches” usually delivered by animated cartoon digital images of themselves or their idealised persona. Many dilated at greater length in voice mode than the official acceptance speeches, which are traditionally limited to five words.

Though New Zealand had only one entry, it merited a mention in the introductory speeches although the context was: “cities like Paris, New York, Cleveland [Ohio] and New Zealand”.

The official “acceptance speeches” often came across more as a promotion for the site, for example, NASA, collecting the government and law award both from the Webby judges and the informal People’s Choice vote, gave us: “science, technology, people, inspiration, cool!” And science winner Explore Mars Now, “Mars or bust! Preferably Mars.”

PayPal, taking both awards in the finance category, delivered the classically simple “thank you for this award.” ESPN, in the sports division, “nothing beats winning a Webby.” Others ranged from the obscure “thank God for little kittens” - rathergood.com, in the “weird” category - to moveon.org’s ambitious ‘politics’ acceptance: “win Webby; next, beat Bush.” Epitonic Radio, winning the radio Webby, trimmed its speech down to two words: “no comment.”

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