NICK DOUGLAS — YouTube just announced its new video award show and voting starts at 2 p.m. Don't expect the winners to have much in common with the winners of last fall's Vloggie awards. How can we keep all these web award shows straight? Which is as legit as the Oscars and which is as scammy as "Who's Who in American High Schools"? Here's a review of the web's top award shows.
The granddaddy of web awards was first handed out by The Web magazine and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain in 1996. The ceremonies expanded and contracted with a two-year lag after the boom and bust: two years after filling San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House in 2001, the event was cancelled in 2003.
It's still the biggest web award and possibly the only one that can pull responses from A-listers. Last year, the Daily Show's Rob Corddry hosted in New York. Lifetime Achievement recipient Prince gave his five-word acceptance speech: "Everything you think is true." A mix of progressive and mainstream nominees shows that the Webbys are still relevant. But what with the celebs and the $250 entry fee, this show feels too slick.
The most famous blog awards, the Bloggies are presented at Austin's annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival. Categories include regions, topics, and specialties (like "best designed").
One measure of an award's legitimacy is how many winners come to claim it. On that count, the Bloggies are failing as the novelty of winning decreases. Let's face it; there are too many great bloggers who feel higher-profile than this award show.
It doesn't help that the physical award is a laser-jetted certificate and twenty bucks, or that high-traffic pro blogs like Gawker Media's Lifehacker have taken over the victories. Still, absent any other slickly presented blog awards, the Bloggies will remain the blog equivalent of the Webby Awards.
This Adobe-sponsored award show, also held at SXSW, hands out solid prizes (this year's Best of Show winner received a travel package for next year's SXSW, including the week-long music festival). But despite a spirited MC performance by public speaker and vlogger Ze Frank, the awards felt like an also-ran as always. The categories seem hacked together, the ceremony squeezed between too many other enticing events. As part of SXSW, it won't die out, but it'll never be an arbiter of online prestige.
PodTech.net hasn't done anything special in the fields of podcasting and videoblogging. But the tech show network puts on one hell of an awards show. This fall's Vloggies awarded not just popular shows like Andrew Baron's Rocketboom but also newcomers. The favorite show was the documentary Alive in Baghdad. By recognizing this serious, moving show about the people of wartime Iraq, the Vloggies earned legitimacy; by filling San Francisco's Swedish American Hall with nominees and fans, the ceremony earned status. Expect these awards to get more attention as vlogging matures.