The Webbys, the internet’s answer to the glitz and glamour of the Oscars, were awarded this week, throwing up a few surprise winners.

Nominees for an outstanding web presence went to both established companies such as BMW, Nivea and Apple, as well as newer sites like Katrina: An Unnatural Disaster and Launchball.

The categories included awards from games to food and beverage to political blogs; in fact, nearly every kind of website had a chance at winning an award.

Better than the rest

Each category has two awards: Webby Award winner, chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the People’s Voice winner, chosen by the online community.

The advent of social networking has been the buzz on the ‘net over the past two years, and this year’s Webby Award went to the Flock Social Network Browser, which integrates online communities into the web browsing experience.

Facebook was the People’s Voice winner, possibly due to some group being set up to encourage others to vote.

Apple cleaned up in a number of categories, including Best Navigation / Structure to a site, Best Use of Video or Moving Image and Best Visual Design.

However, other sites, again using the internet as a community tool, have also come to the fore. PostSecret.com, a blogging site where people can anonymously send in postcards with their secrets written on, won the award for Cultural / Personal Blog in both categories, and KidsHealth.com, which provides doctor-approved health advice, won both Family / Parenting awards.

Each winner was only allowed five words for a speech, and here are some of the highlights:

Viral Marketing

Monk-e-Mail - Webby: Monkeys are funnier than people.

Reality

Hug Nation - People's Voice: Everybody Squeeze [squeezes self] ... that's from Grandpa.

Sports

Manchester United official website - People's Voice: He gave you David Beckham.

Religion and Spirituality

What Is Enlightenment? - People's Voice: Get enlightened, or die trying.