So I went to the Webbys last night and was compelled to write a scathing critique calling for its death. It was bloody and brutal — and then two hours in, WordPress ate my post (yes, I saved, shut up).
So here’s a condensed version: Host Patton Oswalt was great, as always, but the Webbys were as irrelevant as ever. It felt like a fever dream where people actually used Google+ (a major sponsor), and not at all an accurate representation of digital culture.
But, hey, at least they had a decent Steve Jobs memorial, led by Richard Dreyfuss (who had a few choice words for Mark Zuckerberg and Sergey Brin regarding user privacy), with video appearances by Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore.
It was fun to watch Oswalt juggle the insanity of the ceremony. “Interactive advertising, really?! This is like Sad Men,” he quipped when introducing the ad-related awards.
The big problem with the Webbys is that you have to pay to be considered for an award — effectively making the nominees advertisers. It doesn’t matter how good your website or app is, if you don’t pay the entry fees (which ranges between $150 and $495) you’re not even a contender.
It seems completely antithetical to the open nature of the web, and it’s also backwards compared to the way other industry awards are considered. (If you want the full story, Wired’s Andy Baio has a great takedown of the Webby’s model.)