The Webby Awards Names Top Ten Web Moments That Changed Politics

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From The Drudge Report to Obama Girl, List Reveals Web’s Growing Political Influence

New York, NY (October 28, 2008) – On the eve of an historic election that has seen the Internet dominate the political landscape, The Webby Awards today named the Web’s ten most influential political moments.

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by the New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile websites.

From Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) breaking new ground with the first campaign Web site in 1994 to the celebrated CNN YouTube debates in 2007, the list charts the Internet’s evolution from political postscript to powerful political tool. Other highlights of the Webby survey include The Drudge Report breaking the Lewinsky scandal (1998), the first-ever Web-based elections in France and the U.S. (2000) and Senator George Allen’s infamous “macaca” video (2006)

“In a year where we’ve seen the Internet dominate the political landscape, we thought it would both fun and instructive to look back at the events — both big and small — that have changed politics as we know it,” said David-Michel Davies, executive director of the Webby Awards. “Each moment sparked a trend or set a new standard that has forever changed how we follow, participate in, and influence politics.”

See the full list of The Webby Awards’ Top Ten Most Influential Political Web Moments below and online at

The Top Ten Political Web Moments:

1. First Campaign Web Site — Senator Dianne Feinstein (1994)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) became the first political candidate to have a Web site, permanently changing the way politicians do their jobs — from raising money, to organizing volunteers to interacting with voters.

2. The Drudge Report Breaks Lewinsky Scandal (1998)

The Drudge Report, a little-known, one-man news site, beat the mainstream media on one of the decade’s biggest stories when it broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal online. The Drudge scoop paved the way for the blogging revolution and foreshadowed future online blog coups like the downfalls of Dan Rather and Trent Lott.

3. Nader Trader (2000)

Ralph Nader and Al Gore supporters in different states used sites like and VoteSwap2000 to swap votes in order to help Gore receive enough votes to win the Electoral College. It became a symbol of how the Internet can be used in innovative, novel ways to challenge the traditional political system.

4. First Internet voting — France/Arizona (2000)

Signaling that Internet voting could be both secure and popular, tens of thousands of voters in Arizona and France logged onto their computers to vote legally for the first time via the Internet in March 2000.

5. JibJab – “This Land” (2004)

“This Land” an animation featuring a John Kerry/George W. Bush duet, became the Internet’s first hugely popular political parody — enjoying three times the combined traffic of the actual candidates’ sites.

6. Text Messaging Sparks a Revolution (2004)

Protestors during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution used the Internet and cell phones to circumvent state-run media and mobilize massive protests, inspiring similar movements in countries like Lebanon, and giving democracy around the world a much-needed shot in the arm.

7. The Howard Dean “Scream” (2004)

The television clip of Howard Dean’s infamous “scream” after his 3rd place finish in the Iowa caucuses was shared on thousands of websites and spread via email becoming the biggest political viral video of the pre-YouTube era.

8. Senator George Allen’s “Macaca” Incident (2006)

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 everywhere.

9. YouTube Debates on CNN (2007)

With questions submitted from Santa Claus, a snowman, and 4,000 YouTubers across the country, the first-ever YouTube debates transformed the traditional format of the presidential debate giving the public a new way to participate in the political process.

10. Rise of the independent campaign video (2007/2008)

Garnering 10 million views each, Barely Political’s “Obama Girl” and’s star-studded “Yes We Can” epitomized the advent of professionally-produced, high-quality Internet videos that be just as impactful of campaign ads.

About The Webby Awards
Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by the New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile web sites. Established in 1996, the 12th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide. Nominees for the 13th Annual Webby Awards will be announced in April 2009, and winners will be honored at a gala ceremony in New York City in June 2009. The Webby Awards is presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: Adobe; The Creative Group; Nokia; .ORG; Level 3; Getty Images; The Barbarian Group; Digital Kitchen; Adweek; The New York Times; Variety; Wired; IDG; FirstMark Capital; Brightcove; PricewaterhouseCoopers; 2advanced.Net; KobeMail and Museum of the Moving Image.