Best of the Web 2004

by Toby Ward — The 2004 Webby Award winners were announced recently and we highlight some of the best of the best including Google, Wikipeida, iTunes, and

From “Automotive” to “Sales Lead Generation”, the annual Webby Awards recognize the very best sites on the Internet. Regarded in the highest esteem by propeller heads the world over as the ‘Oscars’ of the Internet, the 2004 Webby Award winners were recently announced including some of the best of the best including:

  • Google
  • Wikipeida
  • iTunes
  • Car Stuck Girls


The world’s most used and lauded search engine, Google continues to rack-up praise and hardware. Not only did Google win the Webby, but it also won the People’s Voice (i.e. ‘people’s choice) award as chosen by public voting. Google remains the favourite search engine by a plurality of web heads and the giant is becoming…. oh so much more.

If you haven’t already done so click on the “more” tab on the Google home page. A bevy of options, including discussion groups, a directory of mail-order and web-order catalogs, and a section called “Answers” that is an ‘Ask-the-Expert’ feature at a cost of $2.50 per question. Google maintains a stable of “more than 500” experts who will answer any question within 24 hours and “your satisfaction is guaranteed!”




Wikipedia is a truly great community (a.k.a. free) website that is an online encyclopedia built by you and me. Well, it’s actually the work of 6,000 volunteer contributors, but anyone can offer to contribute, though an editorial committee reviews all submissions. While the quality of encyclopedic entries and articles is predictably erratic, Wikipedia does offer a wealth of information at no cost, which is about $60 per year less than the online Encyclopedia Britannica.

What is particularly cool about Wikipedia (derived from the Hawaiian phrase WikiWiki meaning ‘super fast’) is that any reader can easily correct, update or add to any unprotected article on the site.




Speaking of hot commodities, iTunes picked up three Webby Awards: Best Music site, Best Commerce site, and the People’s Voice Award in the Music category. Since the death of Napster (and subsequent rebirth) the “World’s #1 music download store” has become the newest revolutionary in the download music industry. Users can download a song for 99 cents, or a whole album for $9.99. iTunes has a library of more than 700,000 songs for download.

I personally prefer which has a far more user-friendly site, charges in Canadian dollars, and has a comparable library (my recent downloads include Delirium, Gerry Rafferty, Tragically Hip and Guns N’ Roses).




Always a favorite of critics and fans alike, picked-up its 10


Webby Award as the best Humor site for 2004. Particularly adept at writing political parodies, always serves delicious send-ups of both political and pop culture icons. While writing this column featured a particularly funny piece on Dick Cheney announcing he is running for President...

Fed-Up Cheney Enters Presidential Race Himself

"Enough is enough,'" the visibly annoyed Cheney said at a morning press conference. "George blew the whole Iraqi prison-abuse speech, and he barely did better with his Nicholas Berg reaction. Now he's below 50 percent in the polls. I'm sorry, but I can't allow him to drag me down with him in November."

"Do I have to do everything around here?" Cheney asked, pausing to gesture angrily around the White House. "I guess I do."

(, May 26, 2004)




Either the entries weren’t very good or the judges got bored but the winner of this year’s Webby in the Weird category is a little site called Car Stuck Girls. As far as grading web best practices, design, usability, content, likeability, and general interest, the site sucks. The website features inexpensive (but not necessarily cheap…) and scantily clad models trying to extract their respective cars from mud pits, snow banks, large puddles, etc. And that’s all the site features. Pictures and video of girls with ‘stuck’ cars.




Of course, my personal favourite, (disclaimer: Prescient Digital Media did the plan and operates this winning site). Also, runner-up in the People’s Voice Awards to the U.S. Federal Government submission (

), continues to be a popular health information site with a growing user base. With about 7 million hits last month, site traffic is growing by more than 25% per month – and not just with the Ontario audience it targets. Its well researched and written features and stories are topical and relevant to any audience regardless of their geographic home.


Do you have a favorite commerce, entertainment or news site?

Drop me a line

and we’ll give it a plug in the next Internet Strategy. 

Toby Ward

, a former journalist and a regular e-business columnist and speaker, is the President and Founder of

Prescient Digital Media.

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