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Bravo! Winning Web Awards

Posted on 10.31.2007
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Boost your recognition amongst your competitors by winning Web awards

By Mike Phillips
Managing Editor
Website Magazine

Just about everyone seeks some form of approval and recognition every now and then. And approval amongst our peers and customers is critical for website success. One of the challenges of running a successful website is being able to set yours apart from the likely hundreds or thousands that offer exactly what you do or some close variation. That’s precisely where website awards fit into the marketing mix.

Winning an award not only provides recognition within your industry. What every website owner is really after is traffic and ultimately conversions. The award organizations offer winners badges for display on the website, links, directory listings, subscriptions and an excellent opportunity for an aggressive public relations campaign. Even the old adage, “winning isn’t everything” holds true. Some organizations offer badges simply for being a finalist in a competition. That alone provides some nice marketing fodder.

The Webby Awards
Easily one of the most prestigious and most recognized of all, the 11th annual competition brought over 8,000 entries from over 60 countries and claimed more than 750 million media impressions worldwide, including coverage with USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and BBC. Categories include websites, advertising, film and video and mobile. Entry fees range from $125 to $425 depending on the entry type.
Web Marketing Association’s WebAward
Founded in 1997, the WebAward was developed by the Web Marketing Association as a collection of “…Internet marketing, online advertising, PR, and top website design professionals who share an interest in improving the quality of online advertising, internet marketing, and website promotion,” according to their website. This industry-focused award names the best sites in 96 categories. Each entrant to the WebAward competition receives a detailed scoring report complete with the averages of other entrants — a nice way to see how your site measures up, even if you don’t win. Fees range from $99 for non-profits to $195 for regular websites, per category entered.
Horizon Interactive Awards
Started in 2002, the Horizon Interactive Awards highlight the best in interactive media. The 2006 competition received entries from all over the U.S. and 17 other countries. Horizon’s mission is to “give credit where credit is due.” They are dedicated to rewarding developers of all kinds, whether from a large corporation or a small independent firm. Judges from across the world include industry professionals, end-users and non-designers in an effort to measure the effectiveness of a website in a real-world setting. Criteria include solution creativity, overall graphic design, communication of message, technical merit and effectiveness of solution. Entry fees are $45, and an additional $40  per category entered.
Interactive Media Awards
 As the title suggests, the Interactive Media Awards reward excellence in website design and development, including managing, supporting and promoting websites. The awards are managed by the Interactive Media Council (IMC), a nonprofit organization of Web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other Web-related professionals. Judging criteria in more than 90 categories includes Design, Content, Feature Functionality, Usability and Standards Compliance/Cross-browser Compatibi-lity. Winners gain access to Winner Tools, allowing the ability to notify clients and colleagues and draft press releases. Fees are $125 per category entered, or $75 for some nonprofit sites.
The Pixel Awards
A relative newcomer to the scene, The Pixel Awards were started in 2006 and focus on cutting-edge design and development. There are 20 awards given out each year from 20 different categories, including Geek and Vegetarian. These awards are geared towards the more hip and up-and-coming sites and designers, but offer significant prizes and recognition. Along with site badges, winners receive a custom trophy (designed by an up-and-coming Los Angeles artist), an iPod shuffle, email credits, lifetime discounts from Media Temple and other prizes. Even nominees get email credits and some other useful prizes and discounts. Entry fees are $50 per category.

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