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Going, going gong: No awards for web folk this year

Unfortunately they can't be with us tonight... but they sent this message...
Written by Steven Musil, Contributor

Unfortunately they can't be with us tonight... but they sent this message...

The Webby Awards, the internet community's biggest annual event, has become a non-event this year. The poor economy and fears about travelling were blamed for the cancellation of the seventh annual ceremony, which was scheduled for 5 June in San Francisco. Instead, the winners will be announced on the internet. Maya Draisin, executive director of Webby Awards sponsor The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, said in a statement: "With our nominees now reflecting a truly global web, we're facing new considerations, especially in light of everything that's going on in the world. Presenting the awards in San Francisco without all of the nominees present is not true to the spirit of the Webbys, so we decided to bring the Webby Awards to them instead." The cancellation of the event reflects the downsizing internet industry. The ceremony in 2001 filled San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House to a capacity 3,100. This year's event was scheduled for a marquee along San Francisco's waterfront that seats 295. Long known for its fast-paced presentation and colourful nominees, the awards recognised the best sites on the web. The highlight of each year's ceremony was the five-word acceptance speeches that winners were limited to. Nearly 90 per cent of this year's nominees hail from outside the San Francisco Bay Area, including 24 websites from outside the United States, organisers said. Global travel has fallen sharply on fears of terrorism and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which has killed more than 300 people worldwide. How the awards will be unveiled has not been determined, but an announcement is expected in the next few weeks, organisers said.
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