Web Page Critic Is King Of Cool

On the World Wide Web, where no one is in charge and anything goes, Glen Davis is the Godfather. His favor is courted from around the globe. Just one day in his graces can make or break people.

Never heard of Davis? Maybe you’ve seen a Web page boasting that it was a Cool Site of the Day. Who do you think picks those?

Sure, there are others. But his is the first, and the most respected. Every day tens of thousands of people log in (http://www.infi.net/ cool.html) to see what Davis has deemed worthy.

The attention he can focus on a site is enough to spark its lasting fame.

It’s the closest thing the World Wide Web has to an Academy Award.

Last month, Davis and InfiNet, the company for which he works, awarded the first Webby trophy in Hollywood at an Academy Awards-style ceremony. The event even took place at the hotel where the first Oscars were presented. The Webby went to “The Spot,” the Web’s first soap opera.

Davis picked the five finalists. Web surfers voted for the winner. He won’t say how many votes were cast, except to say that more than 5,000 came from 36 countries.

By studying the five finalists, and the 360 other contenders, we can get a good idea where this new medium is headed, he says.

While he can’t define the key ingredient that made them cool, all the Cool Sites had “it,” compelling surfers to return over and over.

“In some way, every site we honored is pushing the edge, either with technology or content,” he says.

“Just a year ago the Web was much more passive than what you find now,” he says. “So many of the sites were static - you go there once and you’ve seen it all. Now there are sites that constantly change, even as you interact with them.”

All of Davis’ selections entertain, even those that are there for informational purposes.

“Entertainment is a huge part of the Web,” he says. “No matter how many businesses are looking at it as a way to make lots of money, the underlying force, for now, is having fun.”

Tags: computer

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