WEEKLY WEB WATCH: Awards site delights in erratic past

Organisation: BRIT Awards

Organisation: BRIT Awards

Issue: BRIT Awards 2001, nominations and awards ceremony

At: www.brits.co.uk

To what degree should organisations' websites mention the low points, as well as highlights? PRWeek US (15 January) reported on the Microsoft website's review of 2000, which goes in for a bit of whitewashing.

For instance, the site neglects to mention anything to do with a certain anti-trust trial which will probably lead to the company being split in two.

With the BRIT Awards upon us in a month's time, it is nice to see some organisations taking a more humorous look at their own history.

OK, the BRIT Awards website isn't likely to affect share prices. But you can't help but feel affection towards a website that not only mentions all those little hiccups, but actually celebrates them.

The website has news, features, information on the current hosts and nominees, plus some great photography.

But it's the history section on the website which is a real treat. It gives readers a good overview of the awards, including a complete list of winners. And you don't have to look hard to find mention of all those favourite 'low' points. The entry on the notorious 1989 ceremony, which was - loosely speaking - hosted by the pint-sized Samantha Fox and goliath Mick Fleetwood, doesn't shy away from mentioning it was 'memorable for all the wrong reasons'.

Bernard Doherty, CEO of LD Publicity, which runs the BRIT Awards press office, explains the thinking behind this. 'The site should be a tool for journalists to find information about who won what, when, and what year exactly did Jarvis Cocker moon at Michael Jackson' (it was 1996).

This year the entire web presence of the awards will be stepped up, with msn.co.uk, fresh from the success of Madonna's Brixton webcast, covering the awards live, with clips from the ceremony available online after the event.

As well as being a useful tool for journalists, the site is also good for fans. Several of the awards are chosen by the 'record-buying public', and anyone who wants to put their two pence in can vote on the site.

But what about the internet's age-old problem of vote rigging? PRWeek already imagines Lolly's PR team beavering away night and day to ensure she is the victor in the 'best newcomer' section.

According to Doherty, also a BRIT Awards committee member, the system is set up so that multiple entries from one domain name (effectively, one office) won't be accepted.

But he admits that as with the situation that arose in 1999 - when relatively obscure Belle and Sebastian beat teen sensations Steps to the best British newcomer award - if fanclubs mobilise their members to vote en masse, they can't really be stopped.

Roll on the BRIT Awards 2001 - and all the controversy it may bring.

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