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MySpace founders among Webby winners

/ Source: The Associated Press

The founders of the popular social networking site are among the winners of this year's Webby online achievement awards.

Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe will receive an award next month for breakout of the year. The winners were announced Tuesday in advance of next month's ceremony.

Largely through word of mouth, their site now has nearly 77 million registered users and eclipses most Web sites in traffic, including Google Inc.'s search engine. It even got the attention of News Corp., the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, which bought Intermix Media Inc. for its MySpace business for $580 million in cash last year.

"Everyone is using it, from politicians to rock stars to students to people of all ages," said Tiffany Shlain, the founder of the Webby Awards, billed in some circles as the Oscars for the Internet.

She said the breakout category "is really about a site that becomes pervasive in our culture."

Other special-achievement recipients include Robert Kahn for lifetime achievement. Kahn, along with Vint Cerf, invented the Internet's key communications protocols, known as TCP/IP.

Thomas Friedman, a columnist for The New York Times and author of "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century," was named person of the year.

The artist-of-the-year award went to Gorillaz, a cartoon-fronted rock group billed as a pioneer in fusing music and animation.

Mark Cuban, a billionaire Internet businessman who also owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, was named entrepreneur of the year. Organizers credited his role as an "evangelist for the power of technology to drive change."

Winners were named in about 70 other business, consumer and culture categories.

Google's map products won in three categories — for best visual design/function, for broadband and for services. Last year's breakout winner, Yahoo Inc.'s Flickr photo sharing site, won this year for best navigation/structure and best practices, while the company also picked up an honor for its podcasts.

The British Broadcasting Corp. won for community and news, and National Public Radio were honored for radio and religion/spirituality, namely its "This I Believe" audio segments.

The Katrina Help Center, a collaboration of Cisco Systems Inc. and the nonprofit One Economy, will receive an award for best charitable organization.

The awards, in their 10th year, are given by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a group of more than 550 experts on the Internet and other specialties, including musician David Bowie and RealNetworks Inc. Chief Executive Rob Glaser.

The award ceremony, scheduled for June 12 in New York, is known for its zany tone. Winners are limited to five-word acceptance speeches. Lifetime Achievement recipient Al Gore's speech drew laughs and headlines last year with "Please don't recount this vote."