April 08, 2008 |
I'm a little late getting to the Webby nominees announcement. I usually look at web awards as a lot of sunshine being blown in certain areas, but this year, I was pleasantly surprise to see some of my favorites nominated, many seemingly completely out of the blue.
In no particular order, here are my personal favorites in the website categories:
In the Charitable Organizations Nonprofit category, the standout for me is Kiva, which has been the clear breakout star of the socially conscious microfinancing wave. Allowing everyday folks to help business people in developing nations with just a few dollars is an amazing idea, and the site's success demonstrates how powerful social media is in encouraging more global awareness and philanthropy.
In the Community category, I'm thrilled to see Book Glutton, a site I haven't been able to spend NEARLY as much time as I'd like on. A combination web reader and book club, the site allows communities to form around books in the public domain with a nice UI to boot. I'm sorry, StumbleUpon, but any site that gets people together over books wins my vote every time, no matter how many hits you may bring to a blog.
In the Games category, the clear winner has to be Launchball. It took off at SXSW this year, and I spent more hours on that site than I care to think about. I sent it to several friends as well, who also become addicted very quickly, and best yet, it can teach children some of the basic scientific properties.
In Guides/Ratings/Reviews, Compete is probably the site I spend more time on than I should admit to. Simple to use, quick with results, and color-coded for even the most graph-reading-impaired like me, every time I open Firefox, I usually find a tab with Compete open, having checked to see how many people agree or disagree with me that a site is going places or going dark.
In Retail, I was pleasantly surprised to see Moo.com's appearance. Moo has done an amazing job of showing companies piggybacking on the backs of other Web 2.0 companies how it's done, merging the “cool” factor with ease of use and affordability. They also managed a nod in the Services category as well.
Of course, nominations can't please all the people all the time, and I felt there were some seriously glaring omissions. Best Political Blog left out my two favorites: Wonkette and The Daily Dish by Andrew Sullivan. Yes, I did just say I wanted a Gawker property nominated, but Wonkette's irreverent take on U.S. politics is better than any humor blog out there, while still giving readers the story. As for Andrew Sullivan, if any blogger is in serious danger of not coming up for air, it's him. No development goes unnoticed, and I actually cleaned out several of my political feeds simply because he's on top of every story out there, usually linking the most reliable source.
The Music category is missing pretty much any site that I use or think about when it comes to music. Web 2.0 has changed the way music is bought, shared, and played, and not one Web 2.0 company made the list.
The Radio category has a huge glaring absence in NPR. The stories, user interface, and multimedia approach to presenting the content of NPR shows as well as local stations should have been a shoe-in, and I'm left wondering if they somehow recused themselves from the nominations. To me, there's no other reason they shouldn't have been nominated.
When it comes to Social Networking, I think that Twitter should have appeared. Social networking is moving to a faster model than either Facebook or MySpace provide, and at least once a day I see a comment from someone on Twitter describing their abandonment of Facebook. I may not always like it, but at least for the tech community, it seems to be becoming the social network of choice.