08:55 PM

Taking Back The Net?

The U.S. dot-com fallout seems to have opened the door for other countries' Web sites to gain some recognition. Among the offshore winners of last week's 6th Annual Webby Awards were Australia's Lonely Planet Online ( for travel and Canada's Looplabs ( for music. In all, 23 sites in 11 other nations earned nominations--up from 11 sites in five nations last year.

The stronger international presence may indicate that the Web is reconnecting with its roots as a medium for communication, activism, and information dispersal and distancing itself from the E-commerce obsession that gripped the United States, says Maya Draisin, executive director of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which bestows the awards.

Says Draisin, "It gives me hope that we'll see a whole new level of creativity."

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