Indibloggies, India’s first and foremost blog awards concluded its 2006 event by declaring the results of the public poll, last of the three phases of the annual event. Arnab won the coveted “Indiblog of the year” award as well as the “Most Humourous Blog” award for his blog “Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind“.Atanu Dey’s Deesha was adjudged the Best Topical blog. The 2006 event was organized in 3 phases from 26 Jan to 20 Feb 2007. The Indian blogosphere witnessed the titans of blogdom clash in the public poll carried the whole week for prizes worth more than Rs 13,00,000 (1.3 Million, ~ $28000). About 175 blogs, short listed by a niche Jury, battled it out for the laurels across 21 award categories.

Arnab, better known as GreatBong, won prizes worth about Rs 3,83,000 that includes a special scrapture trophy worth Rs. 15,000 made by
Arun Verma, a 10 user Bliki Business Edition pack for 3 years worth around $8064 (Rs 0.36 Million) from Cynapse, One Gym Kit worth Rs 1500 from Black Panther, Blogjet weblog client for Windows worth $39.95 (Rs 1797), Books and “a custom-made India Uncut Cow” from Amit Varma, a copy of Reader 06 from Sarai – CSDS, Delhi, a copy each of “Best of Tehelka 2″ and “Vox: Critical Conversations” from Tehelka. The Indibloggies would be publishing its customary interview with the winner of Best IndiBlog category.

Following is the list of winners:

The Prizes were offered by various Bloggers and Organisations such as who are a Gold sponsor, Creativegarh, Microsoft, Tehelka, Sarai-CSDS, Techgoss, GoHindi and Black Panther, among others. Prizes in various categories include a copy of Enterprise Bliki, Windows Vista, Blogjet Blog client, Books, CDs, Publications, Gift certificates, Web hosting package and Sports Apparel apart from cash-awards.

On his blog, also called RTDM in short, Arnab gave a massive Mithunian “Ayeee Salaaaa” shout-out to his readers, the actor is amongst host of other persona such as Laloo Prasad Yadav that are the “Gods of the RTDM pantheon”. “It feels great to know that I have so many readers who not only show their support by visiting RTDM on a regular basis but also care enough to actually go and vote for it.”, acknowledged the elated winner.

Atanu Dey, who had won the Best Indiblog of the Year award at Indibloggies 2004 was “mildly surprised” on winning the Best Topical blog award. “My views are distinctly unpopular. I am not politically correct. Besides, my blog deals with economics, which is not called the dismal science for good reasons.”, quipped the blogger who writes on development issues and education.

The Indiblogosphere has been abuzz with the happenings of the events for the past few weeks and like any other subject has a mixed reaction. Some say that it’s a pure popularity contest but the organizer Debashish Chakrabarty differs, “We have a peer review process in place which ensures a stringent quality check on the blogs. The Public poll is indeed meant to select the most popular one among the nominees. In the end it’s a decent mix of diversity, quality and popularity.” Atanu opines, “Blogging is a popular medium, representative of people at large. Unlike TV, radio, or main stream media, blogging is not elitist. All blogging contests therefore are basically popularity contests. I think that the Indibloggies highlight the work of a diverse set of very talented people.”

Last year’s winner of “Indiblog of the Year”, the India Uncut author Amit Varma, who won three awards over the last two years but finished runner-up in the top category this year, said that the awards served a greater function than just honouring a few good blogs. “The range of nominees shows the diversity of the bloggers out there,” he said, “and going through the nominations list is a great way of discovering excellent blogs one had never heard of before.”

The peer review and public poll also indicate the current reading habits, likes and dislikes of people. Neha Vishwanathan, who contributes to the group blog Desipundit says, “While it’s easy to be cynical about awards and citations, it feels incredible that the community appreciates the time and effort of contributors to make Desipundit as it is. Perhaps winning an award based on popularity only pushes us towards making the site even more worthwhile for its readers.” “Indibloggies is really a people’s choice award. Press has written a lot about us but when your listeners vote for you and you win then it’s a different high” remarked Aditya Mhatre, founder of the Indicast.

Awards such as the Indibloggies, apart from generating vibes of competition amongst the bloggers, serve a wider purpose of generating awareness about the Indian blogdom, celebrating the unsung bloggers. “Awards like Indibloggies bring out the spirit of good-natured competition and most importantly, for someone new to the world of desi blogs, the nomination lists in each of the categories are excellent starting points for exploring the best of what the Indian blogosphere has to offer.”, said Arnab.

With the end of the 2006 event is it all kiboshed? Debashish replies, “Absolutely not! Indibloggies will have activities throughout the year. We have the 2007 blog-series “Hum Blogistani” coming up, where various bloggers do a SWOT analysis of the blogdom. Starting this year, we intend to organize a massive Blog survery “Blogensus” every year hat will shed light on the nuances of Indiblogging.” Indibloggies also has ambitious plans to make the event more viable and popular. “We are on look out for tie-ups, sponsorships and partnerships with various organizations. Apart from allocating funds for promotion through other vehicles, we also plan to renovate the website software as well as add features such as SMS poll to make the process more user-friendly.”, he informed.