Stephen Colbert Among 'Webby' Winners

Dennis Faas's picture

Comedian Stephen Colbert's claim to be the Greatest Living American has earned him the honour of Internet "Person Of The Year". The award is all part of the 'Webbys', an annual celebration run by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Now in their 12th year, the awards cover dozens of categories from best home page to best real estate site.

Colbert took the lead prize for running a successful 'Googlebombing' campaign. This involved asking viewers to create pages or post blogs describing him as the 'greatest living American'. Eventually, so many people did this that his website became the first result when the phrase was typed into Google.

Colbert's also been accusing Wikipedia users of "truthiness", or believing something without any supporting evidence, and running a Facebook-based campaign to for president that at one point attracted 78 new members a minute. (Source:

Other 2008 winners include '', the frontman for the Black Eyed Peas. He took the best artist award for his video 'Yes We Can' endorsing Barack Obama. The clip attracted 17 million viewers on YouTube.

For each category there are two votes. The official Webby award is chosen by a panel of 550 judges. There's also a People's Choice award, voted by the public, which often throws up a different result.

Although the awards ceremony in New York runs for two days (June 9 and 10 this year), the sheer number of winners could potentially make for an impossibly long evening. To counter this, and in line with the relative conciseness of Internet writing, winners are traditionally limited to acceptance speeches of just five words. (Source:

This creates some memorable speeches, such as TripAdvisor's "Because some hotels really suck". One winner simply said "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet", the Latin phrase commonly used in a loop by designers to check how as-yet-unwritten text will look on a page. And one particularly creative winner announced " -- check it out."

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