Hailed as "the online Oscars" by Time Magazine, The Webby Awards is the leading international honours for Web sites. The awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a global organisation that includes over 480 members.
The Academy unveiled the nominees for the year's best Web sites in 30 categories, including Activism, Community, Film, Music, News, Personal Web Sites, Politics, and Spirituality. A complete list of nominees is available at the Webby Web site.
The public can also vote for its favourite Web sites in The People's Voice Awards beginning April 22 to May 7, 2004 through www.webbyawards.com/peoplesvoice.
"Whether it's iTunes transforming the way we enjoy music or Howard Dean's Blog for America BlogforAmerica.com altering the political landscape, the Web is dramatically changing the way we live," said Tiffany Shlain, founder of The Webby Awards.
"When we started the Webbys nearly a decade ago, many people did not know what the Web was. Today there is no denying the profound way it influences every aspect of our lives," she added.
Maya Draisin, executive director of the Academy agreed saying "If you want to know what's happening in the world, look no further than this year's Webby Awards nominees. The Academy selected finalists that truly reflect the scope and diversity of the Web. Overall, they provide a powerful snapshot of where we are online and where we are going."
While the list of nominees includes Web giants like eBay and ESPN, it also has 29 international nominees, including www.lego.com (Denmark); www.colette.fr (France); www.brisbane.qld.gov.au (Australia); www.raku-gaki.com (Japan); and www.brettspielwelt.de (Germany).
This year, two companies received a record number of nominations in a single year. PBS-affiliated Web sites received six nominations while BBC-affiliated Web sites received five nominations.
Receiving multiple nominations include iTunes Music Store, Meetup.com, Google, Noggin, Wikipedia and Live 365.
Winners of The 8th Annual Webby Awards will be announced online on May 12.