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The Webby Awards' 12 Most Influential Online Videos of All Time

2006 will surely go down as the year when Internet video broke to the worldwide masses, but even before this historical benchmark, online video was an important part of many users' Internet experiences. To celebrate its 12th year, The Webby Awards has put together a list of some of the most important, influential and beloved online videos of all-time. It wasn't easy to narrow down over a decade of online video to just twelve, but each of the videos listed below represents an important starting point for the tactics and trends currently flourishing online.

Jennicam (1996)

Film/Video 5 Jennifer Ringley redefined privacy and entertainment for the Internet era by posting a few Webcams around her college dorm room and inviting the world to view and debate the most mundane moments of her daily life.

Old Jennicam.com homepage (via Archive.org) play video

All Your Base Are Belong to Us (2000)

Film/Video 1 The phrase, from a muddled translation of a Japanese video game, was the ultimate insider reference among gaming geeks; but when a flash animation set to a catchy dance tune hit the pre-iTunes, pre-YouTube Internet, it became the first "mash-up" to take pop culture by storm.

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BMW Films: "The Hire" (2001)

Film/Video 2 With a star-studded line-up of actors and directors that included Clive Owen, Madonna, Don Cheadle, Ang Lee, Ridley Scott, and John Woo, The Hire set the standard for branded content and proved that millions of people will tune in online to view original, high-quality films.

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The Star Wars Kid (2002)

Film/Video 11 While online video is riddled with aspiring actors and singers, Ghyslain Raza learned unintentionally that it can be a powerful star-making tool. While millions delighted at the golf-stick wielding Jedi -- even remixing and rediting the original -- Raza's rise to fame was a reminder for many to "destroy the tape."

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JibJab - "This Land" (2004)

Film/Video 6 "This Land," an animation featuring a John Kerry/George W. Bush duet, became the medium's first hugely popular political parody -- enjoying three times the combined traffic of the actual candidates' sites and paving the way for campaign-defining political clips like the "1984" Hillary Clinton ad and the camp "Obama Girl" video.

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Burger King's Subservient Chicken (2004)

Film/Video 3 The garter-belted chicken that obeyed viewers' commands racked up a million hits in its first 24 hours, thanks to its pitch-perfect appeal to Burger King's young male target audience. It paved the way for other Web marketing phenomena from Trevor the Mentos Intern to Diesel's Heidies.

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Lazy Sunday (Narnia Rap) (2005)

Film/Video 7 Saturday Night Live was in a ratings funk when this skit originally aired, but by the next morning the white-guy rap was burning through YouTube. NBC, which immediately posted the skit on its own site, became one of the first major entertainment companies to recognize online video's power.

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Israel-Hezbollah War (2006)

Film/Video 4 From 9/11 to the 2004 tsunami, the Web has become the place where people turn first to share first-hand accounts and follow unfolding news events; but it wasn't until the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict that personal videos became a powerful witness to war and conflict. Many call it the first "YouTube War."

Israel-Hezollah War Video #1
Israel-Hezollah War Video #2

LonelyGirl15 (2006)

Film/Video 8 The wildly popular video diary of a teenaged girl -- famously outed by the Financial Times as fictional -- made Jessica Rose, its Webby Award-winning star, one of the first actors to gain credibility on the Web, and proved that fans could be as loyal to an online video series as a weekly TV show.

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OK Go - "Here It Goes Again" (2006)

Film/Video 9 The band OK Go had been toiling in relative obscurity for eight years when they jumped onto a set of treadmills and danced their way into music video history. The elaborately-choreographed video reeled in millions of new fans, garnered a Grammy award, and helped topple the hegemony of MTV.

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Senator George Allen's "Macaca" Incident (2006)

Film/Video 10 With the help of a camera and YouTube, Senator George Allen's political gaffe became a media sensation and is widely credited with helping the Democrats take control of the U.S. Congress in 2006. It proved a powerful cautionary tale for misbehaving politicians and celebrities everywhere.

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Zidane Headbutt (2006)

Film/Video 12 Thanks to the Internet, no one missed this infamous World Cup moment that gave rise to countless video parodies, interactive games, and a world-wide hit song that originally premiered online.

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