Awards Count On Firm for Accuracy

There are plenty of organizations that give awards to Web sites. Now the practice has become serious enough to require the assistance of an accounting firm.

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences' annual Webby Awards will be audited next year by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The move is reminiscent of the steps taken by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to ensure the integrity of ballots cast for the Oscars.

With more than 200,000 Netizens expected to vote for the 1999 Webby Awards, IADAS President Tiffany Shlain said retaining PricewaterhouseCoopers was "necessary and important" for the competition, which is often hailed as the "Oscars of the Internet."

"People in general are skeptical of online balloting," said Robert Stavers, a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers' Internet practice.

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