Five-Word Speech Limit Proves Less is More at 1999 Webby Awards


Judie Mulligan,

Fleishman-Hillard Public Relations, 415.356.1086


The Webby Awards demonstrate that Web celebs have a way with words

San Francisco
(March 19, 1999) – If Roberto Benigni had won a Webby Award, he probably wouldn’t have used up all his English. And Gwyneth Paltrow would have gotten the hook after “I would like to thank-.”
That’s because the organizers of the prestigious Internet awards limit winners’ speeches to five-yes, five-words. And at the third annual Webby Awards ceremony, held March 18 in San Francisco, the much-anticipated speeches drew almost as much attention as the awards themselves.

Hailed as “a cyber-geek love fest” by MTV, The Webby Awards are the leading creative honors in digital media. More than 3,000 people from around the globe attended this year’s festivities.

“If anyone exceeds five words they will be promptly disciplined,” announced comedian and master of ceremonies Marc Maron. “If you come up and say, ‘God, where do I start?’-you’ve ended.”

Heeding Maron’s warning, the 22 winners accepted awards for categories ranging from Arts to Weird with pithy quips and the occasional loaded gesture. The ceremony clocked in at a comfortable 75 minutes, three hours (and several trips to the restroom) shorter than this year’s Oscars.

In a nod to Titanic director James Cameron, last year’s Academy Awards sweeper, Internet Movie Database creator Colin Needham founder held his Webby Award over his head and shouted, “I’m king of the World…Wide Web.” IMDB won Best Film Site.

“This one’s for Tinky Winky,” said Cindy Johanson of PBS Online (Best TV Site), referring to the popular Teletubby character accused of being gay by Jerry Falwell.

“Who, What, Where, When, Webby,” proclaimed Scott Woelfel, explaining the 5 W’s that nabbed CNN Interactive the award for Best News Site.

Other speech highlights included:

“Thanks. Contributions are tax deductible.” – California Voter Foundation (Best Politics and Law Site)

“No ads. No registration. Exploratorium.” – Exploratorium (Best Science Site)

“I’ll be darned. In the spirit of free speech, thank you.” – Freespeech Internet Television (Best Radio Site)

“Intelihealth – like an EKG, with attitude.” – InteliHealth (Best Health Site)

“Books, music, video, and Webbies!” – (Best Commerce Site)

“Thank you. We deserve it.” – PaperMag (Best Fashion Site)

“It’s about power to the people. Discipline me.” – The Motley Fool (Best Finance Site)

“Thanks Mom. And Dad.” – BabyCenter (Best Living Site)

“Sonicnet. Sonicnet. Sonicnet good.” – SonicNet (Best Music Site)

“Thank you, very, very much.” – The Onion (Best Humor Site)

“The best is yet to come.” – (Best Technical Achievement Site)

“I did not have sex with that woman. Ms. Shlain.” – Salon Magazine (Best Print and Zines Site)

“Monarch butterflies, bald eagles, nature, children, internet.” – Journey North
(Best Education Site)

“Ugly commercial, sons of *******.” – (Best Arts Site)

“Wow! Yes! SeniorNet & Webbies” – SeniorNet (Best Community Site)

“On behalf of Gamers Central, thanks. It’s a team effort.” – Gamers Central (Best Games Site)

“Thanks. I really appreciate it.” – (Best Sports Site)

“Thanks a lot. This is nice.” – (Best Weird Site)

About The Webby Awards and The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences
The Webby Awards are the leading creative honors for digital media. Nominees and winners are chosen by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a global organization dedicated to the creative, technical, and professional progress of new media. The Webby Awards are an IDG event. The VIP pre-party was co-hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hewlett Packard. Intel was the exclusive sponsor of the post-ceremony party. The Webby Awards ceremony was sponsored by Entertainment Weekly, Time Digital, vivid studios, Levi Strauss & Co., AboveNet, ABSOLUT VODKA, BroadVision, Access Magazine, AdForce, NaviSite, The Motley Fool, VISA, Hotel Triton, The Menlo Technology Group, Alice 97.3 (CBS affiliate), PC World, TipWorld, LinkExchange, The Industry Standard, ARTBYTE, San Francisco Bay Guardian, and Rocket Lab. For more information, visit

About IDG Conference Management Company
IDG Conference Management Company produces the broadest portfolio of executive conferences and events in the technology industry, including theAgenda®, DEMO®, DemoMobile®, DemoEurope®, Vortex?, Spotlight?, and EnterTech conferences, and the Webby Awards®, the Internet’s preeminent awards show. The IDG Conference Management Company also publishes DemoLetter?, and DemoLetter Weekly Edition?. IDG Conference Management Company is a business unit of IDG, and can be found on the web at