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Winners of NetGuide Web Awards 2004 announced

Winners of NetGuide Web Awards 2004 announced

NetGuide magazine today announced the winners of the annual NetGuide Web Awards, the premier competition for recognising the best websites produced in New Zealand. Winners have been selected across 16 diverse categories spanning every facet of life on the web, with the final list comprising a definitive who’s who of New Zealand online.

“The NetGuide Web Awards showcase New Zealand’s presence on the internet, and ultimately define the best of the best. In areas like news, finance and employment they benchmark services, and in categories like lifestyle and entertainment they highlight sometimes curious social trends,” said Debra Millar, ACP Media’s Group Publisher, Consumer Titles.

Winners were selected based on an overall ranking, a combination of the number of votes registered for each site on NetGuide’s website (www.netguide.co.nz) and their average rating out of 10 by voters. Special categories such as Most Innovative Use of the Web, Best Personal Blog, Best News Service and Best New Website or Relaunch were decided by an independent panel of judges, including international expert Kevin Maney, one of America’s top technology writers.

Other independent judges included Susanna Stuart, a Senior Financial Advisor for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Warwick Roger, award-winning journalist and current editor at large for North & South.

“The winners have beaten tough competition to come out on top – they’re must-see sites that are a cut above the rest. According to their users and the judges for the specialist categories, these are the sites that are setting the standard,” said Debra.

Trademe.co.nz, the online auction site of youthful entrepreneur Sam Morgan, was the star of the NetGuide Web Awards. It won best site in the new trading category and also claimed the premier prize, Site of the Year.

Editor of NetGuide Nigel Horrocks said that the site’s success in the NetGuide Web Awards is consistent with its impressive performance over the last few years.

“Trademe’s achievement reflects its exponential growth in a booming web-sector. New Zealanders are taking to online trading like ducks to water. Trademe’s scoop is what you would expect from New Zealand’s fastest growing company, and demonstrates strikingly how the internet can create a career.”

The NetGuide Web Awards also celebrated how a career can make news – or entertainment. This year’s Best Personal Blog category was won by bizgirl.blogspot.co.nz, a narrative of experiences and insights in the life of a Wellington librarian, ‘Natalie Biz’. International judge Kevin Maney described the site as “witty and fun and full of personality… like a New Zealand version of the Bridget Jones diaries.”

Bizgirl’s win came over an impressive list of finalists including publicaddress.net, idolblog.com (winner of another category, Best Youth Site), kiwiblog.co.nz and tylerryan.orcon.net.nz. It was also one link in a chain of award winners with a distinct Wellington connection, including the Wellington City Council website wellington.govt.nz.

In the Best News Service category, stuff.co.nz was a joint winner with ruralnews.co.nz, marking a significant achievement for the specialist agribusiness site. Together the two beat high profile finalists nzherald.co.nz, xtramsn.co.nz, scoop.co.nz and newstalkzb.co.nz.

“Ruralnews’ joint win in the Best News Service category shows that it is meeting a genuine need. It shows that providing a service alone isn’t enough to win – to come out on top you have to be doing what you do very well,” said specialist judge Warwick Roger.

Rounding out strong competition in the service categories were wins from seek.co.nz (Best Employment) and sorted.co.nz (Best Finance).

“These are strongly contested categories, and the wins are a tribute to service that is consistently first-class – seek.co.nz is in fact a repeat winner from 2003, while sorted.co.nz was a finalist last year. Seek’s win is also a great achievement at a time when unemployment is reaching record lows and the labour market is tight,” said Warwick.

Consistency was the hallmark of several categories, with other repeat winners including dance music site biggie.com (Best Entertainment Site), nzxsports.com (Best Sports) and airnz.co.nz (Best Travel and Tourism). In the Best E-tail Site category another unsuccessful 2003 finalist, gpstore.co.nz, rose to take the top prize this year.

Representatives from the successful websites will receive their awards at an awards evening at the Hyatt Regency Auckland tonight, hosted by Jaquie Brown from TV channel C4 and featuring guest speaker Ralph Norris, Managing Director and CEO of Air New Zealand.

NetGuide Web Awards 2004 Winners

Best Government site: Wellington City Council www.wellington.govt.nz

Best E-tail site: Gameplanet store (a store selling games and DVDs) www.gpstore.co.nz

Best Trading site: Trade Me www.trademe.co.nz

Best Lifestyle site: NZ Dating (personals) www.nzdating.com

Best Entertainment site: Biggie (a dance music site) www.biggie.co.nz

Best Employment site: Seek www.seek.co.nz

Best Youth site: Idol Blog www.idolblog.com

Best Sports and Recreation site: NZXSports www.nzxsports.com. NZXSports represents www.snow.co.nz and www.surf.co.nz

Best ISP: Orcon www.orcon.co.nz

Best Travel or Tourism site: Air New Zealand www.airnz.co.nz

Best News Service: joint winners Stuff www.stuff.co.nz and Rural News www.ruralnews.co.nz

Best Finance Site: Sorted (retirement commission) www.sorted.org.nz

Best Personal Blog: Biz girl (A Wellington librarian) bizgirl.blogspot.com

Best New site or Relaunch: XtraMSN www.xtramsn.co.nz

Most innovative use of the web: Ihug’s ‘Connect’ wireless internet service using Wired Country broadband services www.ihug.co.nz/connect

Site of the Year: Trade Me www.trademe.co.nz

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