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5/5/2009
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Webby Awards Honor Jimmy Fallon, Trent Reznor, Twitter

The most buzzworthy winner is arguably Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor. An update to his band's iPhone app was recently rejected by Apple.

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences announced the winners of the 2009 Webby Awards Tuesday.

While there were no surprises among the top winners -- NPR, NYTimes.com, Digg, NBC.Com, Next New Networks, The Onion, YouTube, and BBC -- among the special achievement awards, fledgling late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon was tapped for Webby Person of the Year.

Fallon's team took to the Internet in advance of the debut of NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and built interest -- and an audience -- via a blog, frequent posts on Twitter, and interactive contests that helped shape the show's content.

Twitter itself won Webby Breakout of the Year honors for "epitomizing the democratic spirit of the Web by being accessible to all." Past winners in this category include YouTube, MySpace, and Flickr.

The most buzz-worthy winner is arguably Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor, who got the nod for Webby Artist of the Year. The judges picked Reznor for his achievements in "harnessing the power of the Internet to share his music and passions." Lauded for distributing an HD-quality video tour via BitTorrent and releasing an online game to accompany the album Year Zero, Reznor and NIN's most recent creative efforts were blocked by Apple.

Citing objectionable content, Apple rejected an update to a Nine Inch Nails iPhone application last month. The content in question is the song "The Downward Spiral," whose lyrics include profanity. While the song itself isn't part of the app, "it can be be streamed to the app," according to a forum post by Reznor. And while Apple's software developers' kit prohibits "obscene" content, the song is available for sale on iTunes.

Reznor railed against the App Store's rejection on NIN's Web site in April, writing, "How does that make sense?"

Winners will be honored at a June 8 ceremony in New York City hosted by Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Meyers. Webby Award tradition requires winners to limit their acceptance speeches to five words. Stephen Colbert, Webby Person of the Year 2008, graciously complied, uttering, "Me. Me. Me. Me. Me."

This year's Webby Award winners were culled from 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries. Categories included commercial and mobile Web sites, online film and video, and interactive advertising. Academy members include David Bowie, Harvey Weinstein, Arianna Huffington, Matt Groening, Vinton Cerf, and Richard Branson.


Each year, InformationWeek honors the nation's 500 most innovative users of business technology. Companies with $250 million or more in revenue are invited to apply for the 2009 InformationWeek 500. Deadline extended to May 15.

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