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Dotcom boom and bust tops list of Internet watersheds

Posted by inet - 2005-11-09

The breaking of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and this year's Live 8 concerts were voted among the most influential Internet moments of the past 10 years by organisers of the annual Webby Awards.
The committee that decides the awards -- the self-proclaimed Oscars of the Internet -- chose the dotcom boom and bust as the most eventful episode over the past decade.

Launched by Netscape's IPO in 1995, the boom spurred billions of dollars in private investment in the Internet, new technologies, marketing, and fiber optic cable and led to the development of such landmark sites as Google.

"Though now often synonymous with failures ... the dotcom boom and bust was critical to fast-tracking the spread and popularity of the Internet," the Webby committee said.

In 1995, there were 16 million people online, compared to the current estimate of 957 million.

The second most influential moment voted by the committee came in 1998 when the "The Drudge Report" -- a then little-known, one-man news site -- beat the mainstream media in breaking the scandal of Lewinsky's affair with President Bill Clinton online.

The Drudge scoop paved the way for the blogging revolution and foreshadowed future online scoops, the committee said.

The Asian tsunami in December made the top-10 list at number six, for marking the emergence of "citizen journalism" as, with news agencies racing to reach the hardest hit areas, the first accounts were largely provided by ordinary people armed only with digital cameras and internet access.

The Live 8 series of concerts against global poverty, watched live online by more than five million people, was listed in eight place.

The number nine spot was taken by the 175 percent increase in both members and revenue recorded between 2001 and 2002 by the leading US Internet dating site Match.com, which underlined the web's dominance of the social connections scene.

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