Peripheral Visions

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The Webby Awards – Top 10 Internet Moments of the Past Decade

This years Webby Awards are in!! The Webby Awards are the leading international awards honoring excellence on the Internet. This year they have compiled the top 10 most influential Internet moments of the past decade. Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree, or if you think they missed any. Webby did not rank these top 10 so I have taken it upon myself to rank them in order of importance, #1 being the most important / influential.

#10: 2009 – Iranian election protests

When Iran’s 2009 presidential election produced suspicious results, the opposition took to the tweets — and the “Twitter Revolution” was born. Twitter became such a key tool in spreading news of the protests that followed that the U.S. State Department asked the company to delay a planned shutdown for maintenance. The protests also put a spotlight on Twitter’s key asset as a protest tool. Since most users don’t access it through a central website, it is almost impossible to censor. Twitter let protesters distribute images from the chaotic country at a time when mainstream media outlets had been restricted.

#9: 2001 – Napster Shut Down

Although Napster, one of the first controversial file-sharing sites, shut down it’s “free” service in 2001, it opened the file-sharing doors. Its collapse sparked a wave of innovations that forever changed how we obtain, listen and watch music and video. YouTube, Hulu, iTunes and other legal sites followed, as did downloading songs from less creditable sites. Some artists started releasing their music exclusively online. Napster, now under new ownership, still offers over 8 million songs but you must pay a monthly fee to have access. A portion of those fees are then distributed back to the artists similar to how iTunes works.

#8: 2008 – U.S. Presidential Campaign

The Internet changed the presidential race in 2008 similar to how tv had 40 years earlier during the Kennedy/Nixon election. “Obama Girl” and  Reverend Wright online videos helped in shaping the debate. Social media outlets mobilized voters and there was also record breaking online fundraising. Presidential campaign management was permanently transformed.

#7: 2000 – Craigslist expands outside San Francisco

In 2000,, the free classifieds website, expanded its service outside of San Francisco into nine additional U.S. cities, causing a major shift from traditional newspaper classifieds to online classified ads.  Craigslist now serves free listings in more than 500 cities in 50 countries. In addition to traditional buy/sell classified ads, you can also find someone to paint your house, find a new job, or find a date – in addition to a ton of other listings.

#6: 2007 – The iPhone debuts

The iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. By the end of the first weekend, 500,000 had been sold. The iPhone from Apple has made “smartphones” a part of every day life. There are now “apps” for just about everything you can think of. Over the next 10 years, it’s estimated that a billion users will come to the Internet for the first time through mobile devices. The iPhone may not have been the first smartphone, but it is by far the most influential.

#5: 2004 – Google IPO

Google’s IPO, one of the largest in history, put the six year old search engine on the path to becoming the most dominant and influential company of the decade. From gmail and YouTube to Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Android, the Internet giant and constant innovator is the engine that powers the world. And they have a really cool headquarters too - click here to take a look inside.

#4: 2006 – Online video revolution

In 2006, a perfect storm of faster bandwidth, cheaper camcorders, and the groundbreaking use of Adobe’s Flash 9 video player by YouTube combined to launch the online video revolution. The trifecta led to a boom in homemade and professional content that has reshaped everything from pop culture to politics.

#3: 2006 – Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter takes off

In September 2006, a social networking site for college students changed its user qualifications to include anyone 13 and older with a valid e-mail address. Facebook struck an immediate chord — and almost overnight, social media went mainstream. Less than a month later, the creators of Twitter acquired the company and its assets from its investors, paving the way for the service to take off in 2007. Both companies took social media mainstream, radically changing the way we connect, collaborate, and communicate with everyone from friends to colleagues to customers. And poor MySpace, they are now a distant memory in the social media landscape.

#2: 2001 – Wikipedia launches

Containing 20,000 articles in 18 languages by the end of its first year online, Wikipedia today boasts more than 14 million articles in 271 different languages. The free open-source encyclopedia epitomizes the Internet’s power to bring strangers from around the world together to collaborate on projects both big and small. The overall validitity of the posts will always be suspect, but that can be expected with anything posted online – except for this blog of course :)

#1: 2000 – Google AdWords launches

With the launch of AdWords in October 2000, Google turned advertising on its head. The self-service ad program opened up the marketplace to any business, no matter how big or small, and allowed advertisers to target their customers with laser-sharp precision. Overture was the first major paid search engine to open the internet advertising doors (in 1998) and many believe Google built Adwords off of the Overture module. Overture is now owned by Yahoo. Google Adwords generated $21 billion in 2008, $16 billion in 2007, and $10 billion in 2006. Without Google Adwords, the Google IPO listed above would most likely never have happened.


The top 10 listed above have definitely had an impact on most of our everyday lives. If you feel Webby has missed anything “online” that has impacted your life in a major way, feel free to post a comment and add it to the list.

Resource for this post: The Webby Awards

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Categories: News


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