The german internet industry celebrates itself

Twelve "onlinestars" awarded in berlin.

The church of the holy spirit in berlin-kreuzberg probably hasn’t been this full in decades: shortly before 8 p.M., festively dressed people in black suits and evening gowns lined up at the entrance. Bodyguards checked invitations. A row of gentlemen in "men in black"-look with dark sunglasses loitered next to bouquets of flowers and torches and ladies in black minidresses poured out champagne.

Inside the church there was no more free space. The visitors huddled between camera teams and photographers, in front of the altar a large screen flashed multimedia images into the audience, and only the song books behind the buffet table reminded them that they were in a place of worship and not at a party of the rich and famous.

But anyone who suspected a celebrity wedding or the christening of german aristocratic offspring behind the coarse station was mistaken: the audience in the kreuzberg church had not come to pay homage to god, but to their industry and their own success. For in the heilig-geist-kirche (church of the holy spirit) on sunday evening, the "onlinestar 99" was awarded. The internet magazine "com!Online" awarded the first prize for german websites during the berlin consumer electronics fair. In twelve categories 48 internet offers were announced to the vote; 410,827 votes were paid at the election, which took place from 18. June to 8. August. At the award ceremony, a square plexiglass trophy, the german internet industry had its first opportunity to show its chic side and celebrate itself.

Instead of pimply young web designers in baggy jeans and oversized t-shirts, net entrepreneurs in respectable evening dress were on show at the ceremony. When the more than 1000 young and not-so-young internet nouveau-riches gathered at the "onlinestar"-award ceremony were meant to give an accurate impression of the state of the german net industry, then the industry has outgrown the phase of garage companies. Judging by the dress code, the party could have been one of the industry meetings of german private television stations or advertising agencies.

Of course, there is still the mid-twenties who are still a bit surprised that they have suddenly become the boss: the guys from the internet auction house alando, who accepted their prize in t-shirts of the new parent company ebay and stormed the stage with the entire staff, were obviously surprised themselves by their success and afterwards lay in each other’s arms like a streetball team that has won a local tournament. But most of the web entrepreneurs were dressed in discreet double-breasted suits to receive their awards and answer a few questions.

Of course, the whole event did not yet reach the level of the american webbyawards. This was not least due to the hopelessly overburdened moderators sibylle nicolai (zdf) and julian patzak (radio 100,6 berlin), whose comments and questions demonstrated a widespread ignorance of the subject matter and at times created the atmosphere of a church charity raffle. Also the show interludes of the weather girls and angel mckay (the announced lou vega had let himself be excused) did not necessarily provide for an exuberant party atmosphere.

But above all the categories in which votes were cast betrayed german stuffiness: "business finance", "e-banking" and "service" are obviously more important for the teutonic net scene than for example "education education", "politics" or "art". In these areas, which for example are used in the "webbyawards" there was no voting. Also the winners (well known commercial websites like "yahoo" or "amazon") did not exactly betray world-class standards, and that in germany offers such as "free of charge.De" belong to the grossest scavengers, speaks for itself. Also the website of "focus-online", one of the "media partners" of the event on the list of candidates would not have been necessary.

All this did not prevent the german weavers from besieging the ten or so buffets and counters in the garden behind the church for a long time in the warm august night, so that the waiters and waitresses could hardly keep up with serving and pouring. The german multimedia scene has its industry oscars.

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