Web Trends

The Webby Awards
Tiffany Shlain
Webby Awards Founder
Friday, January 13, 2006; 1:00 PM

Tiffany Shlain, founder of The Webby Awards, was online to discuss trends for 2006, touching on issues ranging from online video to Web search and Wi-Fi to mobile phones.

A transcript follows.


Burke, VA: Good afternoon Ms. Shlain,

What did you think of the young lad who made over $1M by selling pixels on his webpage for $1 per? Seems to me that the money in web advertising is just huge! One only has to look at Google and our young pixel selling college student to verify that fact. What do you see as the next big trends in web advertising? Related Story: A Million to One

Tiffany Shlain: There is huge potetial in web advertising. We will continue to see personalization and customization. I also see social networking tying into this. Just imagine if you search for a movie or a book, and you will see what your friends prefer along with the search to help you decide. All the parts are there right now but it all be more seamless in the future.


Los Angeles, California: What sector of the technology/media and technology industry hasn't quite taken off yet, but you expect will in the next year?

Tiffany Shlain: I have to say that I still think that the film distribution is still not in full bloom. Another area is new entertainment created specifically for the web. I know it's happening but I think the audience has arrived for this as well as the caliber of content being created.


NY: Hi Tiffany -

Where do you see women making the bigger impact than men, in the online world?

Tiffany Shlain: Since the beginning of time men have been the hunters, women have been the gatherers...perhaps we are more adept at gathering information online? No, not really but that was kind of fun to write;) Hmmm..that is a good question. I think that women are very good at communicating feelings and emotions. There is a challenge with infusing into the online world emotion---in writing, in images, in experiences...perhaps this is where women will make a bigger impact. This is a good one to ponder...


Silver Spring MD: Why do you think there is such a gap between those who can "develop" sites, and those who can "design" sites. So many people have the technical know-how, but not the aesthetic eye for design.

Tiffany Shlain: Both sides bring so much to the table and unfortunately, they usually speak in different languages...very right brain/left brain. I hope that what people want to do technologically will continue to be more that people with aesthetic design skills will have the tools that they need to create an experience online.


McLean, VA: Your thoughts on content delivery to cell phones? Ready for prime time, or perpetually not quite there?

Tiffany Shlain: I have been thinking about this a lot. What would I really want to see on my cell phone. I have a new film I just directed that will be playing at Sundance next week ( and it is 18 minutes long. Would I want it to be seen on the cell phone. Hmmm...not really sure. However, what would I personally want to watch on the cell phone..when would I watch it? when I am waiting in line? stuck somewhere? I think pithy, funny, short films (1 to 3 minutes) would be good. Lots of stuff to make people laugh. Laughing is always a good thing. I do think we are in the year that this is going to happen. I am excited to see what is going to come out. There are so many great short films out there looking for a distribution platform. The web and cell phones and IPODs offer huge possibilities.


White Oak, MD: I'm currently studying Graphic Design, and have learned a bit of HTML, Dreamweaver, etc. But opted not to take Flash. Was that a mistake? Do people still have a need for conservative design vs. Flash sites?

Tiffany Shlain: You should have the full palette of paints when you are creating. Learn flash. It is exciting and you want to know all the tools when you are creating a website.*


Cincinnati, Ohio: Do you foresee vodcasts and video over the Internet becoming nearly as commonplace as blogs and podcasts over the course of the year? Leslie Walker's .com: Future of Internet TV Is Coming Into View

Tiffany Shlain: Yes. People want an emotional experience. Images/video add that. I am excited by this development and happy it has finally arrived.


Racine, Wisconsin: Two-part question:

Flash-based web sites...Better than sliced bread or worse than burned toast?

What's are some outstanding local government web sites that you've come across?


Tiffany Shlain: Two answers to your two part question.

1. Flash is yummy. But you should always give people the option to experience via flash or a more simple way.

2. National Cancer Institute Web site won The Webby Award for best Government Website for the 9th Annual Webby Awards. It is an outstanding site.


Denver, CO: Good Afternoon,

Do you think spam's negative affect on email marketing will boost other forms of Internet communication?

Tiffany Shlain: I hope we find a solution for spam. I personally found that has been working for me. It has really helped me deal with my spam problem although it is a service I pay for each month. I hope there will be a solution soon that everyone can use. I don't want spam to kill this amazing communication tool of email.


Silver Spring, MD: I'm a graphic designer in the area, and am constantly asked for web design vs. print design projects. Are there any good online "web design" companies I can refer my clients to? And I mean, a PROFESSIONAL site.

Tiffany Shlain: A great thing to do is to go to the website and look at our winners for the 9th Annual Webby Awards and see the web design companies that made the award winning sites. , look for nominees and winners*

those are the best.


Washington DC: So what is Web 3.0 going to be like?

Tiffany Shlain: Perhaps the glasses we wear will be screens and instead of clicking on links we will be "blinking" to move into a link. All the information will be accessible....but boy would I miss eye contact;)

On a more serious note, we are accepting entries right now for the 10th Annual Webby Awards (deadline Jan. 27t.) Many of our entrants are doing new things that are paving the way for the future. If you are doing something that you think is great, be sure to enter. If you want to see examples of excellent websites or what you will see more of in the future, look for our nominees announced this spring.*

Winners of the 10th Annual Webby Awards will be awarded June 12th in New York City. Stay posted on all of this at


Washington, D.C.: This being a city full of museums, what sort of technology/features do you see coming up for museum web sites, especially regarding online resources and tools for visitors?

Tiffany Shlain: you should check out:

*New York Academy of Sciences

They won a Webby Award for Best Association Website.

Great examples.

Also, Best Cultural Institution Websites Webby Winners were:

*Lakota Winter Counts: An Online Exhibit


*National Aquarium in Baltimore Visitor's Web Site


Reading, PA: Currently Google and "search" in general are the leading vehicles for Internet advertising, but within the next five years what other aspects of the Internet do you envision emerging as significant factors in Internet advertising, and why? Thank you.

Tiffany Shlain: This is going to have to be my last question. I have really enjoyed this chat with everyone. The next vehicle is really going to be our cell phone. Most people have no idea how much a cell phone or PDA can really do. I think the convergence of the web with the cell phone is going to be huge. Just imagine when your cell phone camera will take a snap shot of a barcode of a product and then tell you information about the product i.e.what companies were involved in making it, what other products you may be interested in, deals, etc. This will be a huge open field when the web, search, cell phones are all working together. This information can flow both ways and will be significant in internet advertising. It's very close to happening.

That's all for now.

Have a great weekend everyone!




Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company