The SXSW 2010 Web Awards Covers Sites from Corny to Vile
A Vile Plutocrat, a blog that bills itself as "steel-toe boot in the ass of entitlement," and a web service called Cornify that claims to "optimize the happiness-per-user ratio online," were winners of the 2010 SXSW Web Awards, held Sunday night at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Cornify had the distinction of being the People's Choice winner, selected by an audience of 12,000 online voters.
The Web Awards ceremony is a popular tradition and highlight for many attendees of the Interactive portion of the SXSW conference. Past Web Award winner, Twitter, has helped the SXSW awards event position itself as a starmaker. Organizers parade finalists down a red carpet of bloggers and trade press, hoping to snap a picture of the next Evan Williams or Mark Zuckerberg.
The event began after a bizarre mix of local entertainers who performed sideshow circus-style acts, including a heavily tattooed woman gyrating inside a lighted hula hoop to a new age Asian instrumental track.
Local favorite, Gowalla, a Texas-based geo-social service that competes with location-based services (LBS) like FourSquare, won in the mobile category for best site optimized for handheld and portable devices. To some industry watchers, Foursquare appears to have taken an early lead in the LBS category, but Gowalla was expected to leverage its home field advantage at this year's show by integrating promotions around the community. As a result, exhibitors and party hosts encourage attendees to do check ins to receive conference swag or party invites.
The big winner was WolframAlpha, garnering the Best in Show accolades at this year's SXSW Web Awards. A highly obtuse piece of applied mathematics, WolframAlpha is a "computational knowledge engine" that generates output by combining free form data input and converting that into useful information available from its free website or through a mobile app, priced at $49.99.