Theatre-style web awards to recognise overlooked web scene

14 Aug 2008

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Tuxedos and gowns appear to be fading into the past as far as Irish internet awards go with the latest web awards opting for a theatre-style DIY approach to recognise “the sites which never get mentioned by other awards.”

The Moviestar.ie Irish Web Awards will be held on 11 October at the new SAS Radisson Hotel in Dublin city and will be hosted by 2FM DJ Rick O’Shea.

The new awards, which will compete with long-standing awards such as the Golden Spiders and the Irish Internet Association’s Net Visionary Awards, were spawned by the organisers behind the Irish Blog Awards, which recognise Irish blogging talent.

In its third year last year, the Irish Blog Awards attracted more than 400 people to recognise achievers from 30 different categories.

Irish blogger, Damien Mulley told siliconrepublic.com the idea for the Irish Web Awards grew out of frustration that a vibrant community of websites weren’t being recognised by the established awards or reflected the views of web professionals.

He said the philosophy of the new awards is that a 16 year-old web designer will be on the same footing as established design agencies and won’t have to pay to buy a table just to collect an award.

Instead, the “almost for a profit” event will charge a €30 entry fee and he said sponsorship of categories are deliberately priced to be affordable to smaller firms.

“The idea started with the Irish Blog Awards and the recognition that there were so many categories. People said there should be the same kind of awards for websites,” he said citing sites like Boards.ie, which has 140,000 members, The Property Pin, Ask About Money and Politics.ie, which rarely, if ever, feature in awards.

“People were saying ‘These sites are great, I spend all my time there.’ Boards.ie recently had its 10th anniversary and married people have said how they met each other on it. There’s a huge community out there that seems to be almost ignored by the other awards because they’re not commercial business sites. There are tonnes of niche areas out there that other awards, because they are already so big, don’t cover.”

Mulley said rather than a public vote, like Eurostar, the aim is to have 20 different web developers work through a score-card system. In a second round a team of judges will work through a series of specific criteria to judge the winners.

There will be over 24 categories covering news and media, entertainment, technology, government and community, education and science, commerce, speciality, technical and a grand prix.

The awards’ chief sponsor Moviestar.ie’s, Iain McConnon, stated: “Our previous involvement with the Blog Awards showed us the power of online communities and the immense pride people have for their work as well as the work of each other.”

Mulley said he is expecting 300 to 400 people to attend the event. Asked if he thought it might even eclipse the Blog Awards, which are entering their fourth year, he said: “While the web in itself represents a far greater magnitude of traffic than blogs, I don’t think it will eclipse the Blog Awards. Instead, what we want to do is take the energy of the Blog Awards and give it to the web community at large.

“We term it a ‘not for a huge profit’ event. If we break even, I’d be happy,” said Mulley. “The idea is to re-energise the web community in Ireland, have fun, pump each other up and have pride. There’s no ban on tuxedos, but we’d prefer if people left them at home.”

By John Kennedy

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com