Lame Web sites abound. Here's a chance to recognize and reward the cool ones. The folks behind the Webby Awards are now accepting nominations for the fifth annual presentation of honors for the best Web sites. The Webby Awards are organized by Digit's parent company IDG.

Deadline for entries is December 15, and submission information, rules, and an entry form are available at The Webby Awards. The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences will name the winners during the summer of 2001, in a self-described over-the-top ceremony. The fĂȘte features eclectic themes, outrageous fashions, and legendary (and appreciated) limits of five words on acceptance speeches. Of course, the entire event is Webcast.

This year's awards will include two new categories: Church and State, says Maya Draisin, director of the academy. More specifically, first-time Webby Awards will be presented in 2001 for Best Spirituality Site and Best Government and Law Site. Existing categories include Activism, Arts, Community, Commerce, Education, Fashion, Film, Finance, Games, Health, Humor, Living, Music, News, Personal Web Sites, Politics, Print and Zines, Science, Sports, Technical Achievement, TV, Travel, and Weird.

Distinguished Judges Gather

Judges critique sites for content, structure and navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity, and overall experience. Judges are drawn from the 370-person academy's membership, which includes experts and celebrities in the various fields represented in the categories.

The Webby judges are as diverse as the categories. For example, David Bowie is among the judges in the Music category; Francis Ford Coppola, Film; Larry Ellison, Technical Achievement; and Sandra Bernhard, Humor.

Other academy members who will scrutinize sites include cyberguru Esther Dyson, Simpsons creator Matt Groening, National Public Radio personality Ira Glass, computer scientist Jaron Lanier, and Oxygen Media president Geraldine Laybourne.

The academy initiated its open call for entries last year, drawing thousands of submissions from more than two dozen countries, Draisin says. "We're looking forward to generating an even more diverse and dynamic range of nominees this year."

In fact, the open call brought fame to several little-known sites that won 2000 Webby Awards, Draisin adds. Among those entries were the search engine Google, which won the Technical Achievement award, and Lost and Found Sound for Best Radio Site.