Are the Webbys broke now? I think web sites are great fun, although I've never felt especially indebted to the Webbys for their garish presentation of awards for web sites and their creators. In my experience, most web developers and authors are more compelling on paper, and no amount of manufactured fanfare or c-list celebrity presenters are going to change the fact that you're forcing a live audience to listen to a speech by the personality behind "recipedatabase.com".
In an act that could be read as either marketing savvy or complete disdain for their nominees, the Webbys made an interesting switch a couple of years ago - they created a strict rule limiting awards recipients to an acceptance speech no longer than five words. That means more time for drag queens!
This year I noticed the Webbys require a $85 entry fee (now $95, as the deadline gets closer) to nominate personal and non-profit sites, and $100 (now $150) for other site categories. Compare this fee, and the five words you get to say to an audience who, in this sagging economy in a country on the verge of war, now tends to look at the web as a disgusting example of recent excesses, to the award itself. A petrified slinky, its total retail value couldn't possibly exceed $15. This means nominees are funding the ceremony, and the honored web sites are basically paying for the privilege of receiving their awards. Well, Tiffany Schlain finally got her wish: the Webbys are officially exactly like the Oscars™.