Among the upcoming Webby Awards' nominees announced in April, a missing website that seemed like a glaring omission was the popular online video-chat phenomenon Chatroulette.
So the Webbys organizers selected Chatroulette for the 2010 "Breakout of the Year" Webby which will be presented on June 14 when winners pick up awards.
Chatroulette, founded by 17-year-old Russian Andrey Ternovskiy, pairs up random strangers from around the world for an online audio, video and text chat via webcams.
The site (www.chatroulette.com) grew from 500 visitors in November 2009 to 35,000 per day in February 2010, and has an estimated total of 1.5 million users.
"Chatroulette embodies the sort of accidental innovation that only the Internet can produce," said David-Michel Davies, executive director of Webbys. "Chatroulette's success offers a refreshing reminder that the Internet still offers a level playing field where anyone with a great idea or product can flourish."
Other special achievement Webbys will go to the band OK Go! as Film and Video Artist of the Year, and film critic Roger Ebert gets Webby Person of the Year after losing his voice to cancer and leaving television to thrive online. The internet co-inventor Vinton Cerf receives the Webby Lifetime Achievement Award.
The 14th annual Webby Awards, considered the Oscars of the internet, honors the best online sites in 100 categories, ranging from entertainment and news to best viral video.
Webby winners will be presented on June 14 and acceptance speeches are limited to five words. Chatroulette's Ternovskiy will attend the ceremony in New York.
The public can vote online for the People's Choice Awards: http://webby.aol.com/media_types/mobile-web
The full list of nominees: www.webbyawards.com