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At least it wasn't billed as 'the Internet Oscars', but then it may as well have been for all the sense the choice of winners made. That's right, soon-to-be-sold-off BT subsidiary Yell has concluded its annual awards ceremony for the best Web sites for 2000.

Hosted by erstwhile celebrity Jonathon Ross, the awards "known as the 'people's choice of the best on the Net'", were judged by such celebrities as an MSN group manager, a Yell manager, a Granada Media manager, Martha Lane-Fox and three editors of offline, paper-based magazines.

With such a leading cast, it's perhaps unsurprising that the results came out as they did.

God only knows what all-bells-and-whistles Gameplay.com has been up to or how many parties it's thrown but even for such a "fast and smooth" site, presenting it with Site of the Year and Best Youth Site awards (as well as runner-up for Best E-commerce Site) is a little too much. We thought it was just an over-designed games site.

Other gems? Cable & Wireless winning Best ISP. Maybe they should have spent less time on their site and more on actually getting their systems working.

Oh Christ. A WAP site won Most Innovative Use of Technology. Need we say more?

A picture site won Best B2B E-commerce Site. What best e-commerce site on the entire Web? Are you sure? Why?

Best Community Site was a wedding site. Not knocking the site, but have you ever been around people getting married? That's all they bloody talk about four six months beforehand. Not exactly hard to build a community with these people - because none of their friends want to talk to them anymore.

Time Out was Best Entertainment Site. How? Time Out is a listings magazine (Aha! The magic word is "magazine" - now there's something that the panel understands...)

We were worried that perhaps the judges have a very limited choice of sites to work with, but the organisers told us that there had in fact been 25 per cent more entrants this year! That means that at least 40 sites entered to win this most coveted of all awards.

But it wasn't all nonsense. No, Mirror columnist, friend of The Reg and all-round great guy Matt Kelly gave an emotional speech when he presented a special award to multiple sclerosis community mswebpals.org.

He told the village hall: "Our readers chose an organisation that for me epitomises the Internet at its best. The winner may not be the flashiest on the shortlist, or the most polished, but it is all about what can be so great about the web; enabling a group of people with a common interest to meet, share experiences, learn - and most importantly - talk to each other. Inspire each other. And that's especially so when that community is built in the face of a disease like multiple sclerosis."

We have been reliably informed that there was not a dry eye in the house. Perhaps the stage beckons. ®

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