Freelancer.com has been recognised as Employment Site of the Year at the Webby Awards in New York, making it the only Australian company to win a Webby award in 2011.
Established in 1996, the Webby Awards is considered a leading international award ceremony honoring excellence on the internet, including interactive advertising and media, online film and video, and mobile and apps.
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The 2011 Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from 60 countries, with award winners broken down into 70 categories, including education, games, green, retail, social media and tourism.
Other high profile 2011 Webby Award winners and nominees include Dropbox, Groupon, LivingSocial, Skype, Tumblr and Twitter.
In addition to winning the award for best Employment Site of the Year, Freelancer.com also won the People’s Choice Award in the same category.
Led by veteran tech entrepreneur Matt Barrie, Freelancer.com was founded in 2004 and is now one of the world’s largest crowdsourcing marketplaces.
David-Michel Davies, executive director of the Webby Awards, says Freelancer.com’s achievement is “a testament to the skill, ingenuity and vision of its creators”.
Barrie says Freelancer.com accepted the award on behalf of its 2.5 million freelancers, stating: “Freelancers are the vanguard of a new entrepreneurial class sweeping the world.”
“Technologically elite, they are creating an economic revolution in their own countries while being the powerhouse digital workforce which will drive productivity in the west,” Barrie says.
“In the Philippines for example, there are so many new entrepreneurs and small business owners, and crowdsourcing is the next big things in terms of what’s happening in society as the world gets more connected.”
While Freelancer.com was the only Australian company to win a Webby award in 2011, both Amnesty International Australia and Tourism Australia were nominated, while fellow Australian crowdsourcing start-up 99designs won an award last year.
Barrie says Australian companies and organisations often feel reluctant to enter global awards because they consider themselves to be from the “small neck of the woods”.
“However, Australian companies shine in a lot of areas and are a lot further ahead than they think. They should think of the world as their stage,” he says.
Barrie says the beauty of being web-based is being able to go global without having to relocate to somewhere like Silicon Valley. He also believes there has never been a better time to start a business.
“Technology and education is so accessible now, and there are numerous examples of businesses starting up on shoestring budgets – you can do it,” he says.