Acress Lisa Kudrow speaks on stage as she hosts the 15th annual Webby Awards in New York June 13, 2011.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) *** Local Caption ***  NYK901_USA-_0614_11.JPG
Actress Lisa Kudrow hosted the 15th annual Webby Awards in New York.

Looking for more interesting bookmarks? Check out the Webby winners

The Webby Awards would love to cast themselves as the Oscars of the web. And, to be fair, they do "honour excellence on the Internet", just as the Oscars reward the previous year's greatest cinematic achievements.

In fact, the 15th annual ceremony this week was, to the outsider, remarkably similar to Hollywood's yearly bunfight. It was hosted by a famous comedian - Lisa Kudrow - featured stars such as Norah Jones and Brooke Shields from the world of entertainment, and had a dominant winner: in their case, the Funny Or Die website.

But there's a refreshing difference to this award show: it doesn't go on all night because the winners have to make their speeches in five words or fewer.

So when the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour, accepted the People's Voice award in the fashion category (from Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe, no less) she simply said "sometimes geeks can be chic". She was talking about the effect of her website, but could easily have been making a more general comment on the Webbys themselves. As Kudrow pointed out, the audience might recognise many of the award-winners "from when you beat them up in high school", and the Webbys does have a less starchy, more self-deprecating air than many an awards ceremony.

But then, it is the kind of night where an irreverent comedy website can be a big winner. Funny Or Die was founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's production company and is a ridiculously simple idea: well-known actors such as Jerry Seinfeld and Lindsay Lohan perform skits on which users of the site then vote. Those that are funny stay, but those that don't pass muster must "die" in the site's crypt. Contributions from US stand-up Zach Galifianakis - the "one with the beard" in The Hangover - most definitely did stay. He won four awards alone for his Funny Or Die celebrity interview series.

There were also awards for the chat-show host Conan O'Brien's website (each category has two awards, one voted on by the International Academy of the Digital Arts and Sciences, and one voted by the public) and Antoine Dodson/The Gregory Brothers, who performed the musical parody and YouTube sensation Bed Intruder. All of which might make the Webbys seem just a little throwaway, particularly when there are a frankly ridiculous 70 categories. What do you mean, you don't want to know the Best Corporate Communications website?

But the Webbys also celebrate the power of the medium for good. So it was cheering that among the whooping for LCD Soundsystem (Artist of the Year) and Arcade Fire (Best Experimental and Weird Short Video - see what we mean about the category overload?) there was a Special Recognition Award. Accepted on behalf of the Egyptian people by filmmaker Mohamed Diab for their use of Facebook and Twitter to affect change in Tahrir Square, Diab's five words were "Injustice, oppression, social media = revolution." And there was also a standing ovation for Martin Cooper. Only a gathering of tech geeks would have recognised why he should receive a Lifetime Achievement award but most of the rest of us have his invention at our side 24 hours a day. It's called the mobile phone.

But even Cooper was refreshingly deprecating. He came to the stage holding a giant brick of a mobile phone and said his five words - "Can you hear me, now?" - with a glint in his eye. The final line, though, had to go to a bird and a catapult. If you're one of the 200 million people who downloaded the Angry Birds game on to laptops, PCs and smartphones since its release in December 2009, you'll know what we're talking about. This is a seriously addictive waste of time - and it won both the academy and the public vote for best game.

Yet there will be those who have never played it, and the Webbys does fulfil another function - the list of winners and nominees are like a web browser preloaded with some of the coolest bookmarked links on the planet. Well, if you live in America.

Angry Birds may be Finnish, the BBC won an award for drama for its online EastEnders-themed video series, and The Guardian snatched a couple of gongs for online video, but generally this is a celebration of Stateside web talent. Which is fine, but if the Webbys really have pretensions about being the Oscars of the Internet, perhaps a "best website in a foreign language" would be a nice idea for next year. After all, there are 70 categories. One more is hardly likely to hurt.

* Ben East


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2


• The digitisation of financial services will continue

• Managing and using data effectively will become a competitive advantage

• Digitisation will require continued adjustment of operating models

• Banks will expand their role in the customer life through ecosystems

• The structure of the sector will change


Monday, January 28
Iran v Japan, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium (6pm)

Tuesday, January 29
UAEv Qatar, Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium (6pm)

Friday, February 1
Final, Zayed Sports City Stadium (6pm)


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Australia (15-1): Israel Folau; Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete; Bernard Foley, Will Genia; David Pocock, Michael Hooper (capt), Lukhan Tui; Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda; Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson.

Replacements: Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Jack Maddocks.

Switching sides

Mahika Gaur is the latest Dubai-raised athlete to attain top honours with another country.

Velimir Stjepanovic (Serbia, swimming)
Born in Abu Dhabi and raised in Dubai, he finished sixth in the final of the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the 200m butterfly final.

Jonny Macdonald (Scotland, rugby union)
Brought up in Abu Dhabi and represented the region in international rugby. When the Arabian Gulf team was broken up into its constituent nations, he opted to play for Scotland instead, and went to the Hong Kong Sevens.

Sophie Shams (England, rugby union)
The daughter of an English mother and Emirati father, Shams excelled at rugby in Dubai, then after attending university in the UK played for England at sevens.

Moral education needed in a 'rapidly changing world'

Moral education lessons for young people is needed in a rapidly changing world, the head of the programme said.

Alanood Al Kaabi, head of programmes at the Education Affairs Office of the Crown Price Court - Abu Dhabi, said: "The Crown Price Court is fully behind this initiative and have already seen the curriculum succeed in empowering young people and providing them with the necessary tools to succeed in building the future of the nation at all levels.

"Moral education touches on every aspect and subject that children engage in.

"It is not just limited to science or maths but it is involved in all subjects and it is helping children to adapt to integral moral practises.

"The moral education programme has been designed to develop children holistically in a world being rapidly transformed by technology and globalisation."