The build up to this year’s Lovie Awards, Europe’s alternative to the Webby Awards, is in full swing. Now in its second year, the awards celebrate the best that Europe has to offer online – from “top web and creative networks and content publishers to cultural and political organisations and bedroom bloggers.”

The deadline for entries is tomorrow, so if you have something you’re particularly proud of that you would like to submit, get moving right now.

To hear more about the story behind the awards and why they exist, we fired some questions off to Nik Roope, European Chair for IADAS and Founder & Chair of The Lovie Awards.

How did the Lovie Awards come about, and how did you get involved?

We became friends with the team who put on the Webby Awards show in NYC every year, namely because we won one every year since 2005 and true to reputation were the stubborn social dregs still clinging on to festivities at the after-after-after-after party. Needless to say, we fell head over heels in love with The Webby Awards. Their inclusivity, diversity and extremely high standards combined to create a platform to which we really aspired. For 6 years I also represented the Webby Awards as the UK Webby Ambassador (even though my contact in NYC never sent me official dignitary flags to adorn my car).

At some point we were discussing the Oscars and felt the ‘foreign language film’ was such a lame way to embrace non-English language entries. We realised too at that moment that Europe, with its many languages, had little hope of competing on an international platform that was in English. So we put 2 and 2 together and came up with The Lovies, a way to celebrate the best of Europe, but judged in native tongue. And on that subject, the tongue in cheek title quips on the reality that Internet people are everything but lovies whilst also possessing legitimate roots in the story of the founding mothers of computing, Britain’s Ada Lovelace, who published the first line of computable code in 1843.

As practitioners, we’re passionate about the Internet and all the possibilities that it brings. We simply wanted to create a focal point to draw attention to and celebrate all the brilliant things happening across Europe.

Why do the awards focus just on Europe?

lovies As the entry deadline looms, heres the story behind the Lovie AwardsAs a region, Europe has some unique advantages and disadvantages to match. The rich culture combined with borderless economic structure combine to create unique and interesting conditions that have a long legacy of creating brands and ideas that are exported worldwide and which continue to resonate. But when it comes to technology, language divides are as tangible and physical borders, resulting in barriers preventing the cross fertilisation of ideas, knowhow, trade, investment and discourse an exchange that has by contrast made the west coast of the US such a bastion of progress in the sector.

Focusing on European culture is both a means to draw attention to the many areas of exemplary, world class ideas and initiatives (to sooth our collective egos) but also to rub those communities and clusters together.

What kind of impact does a Lovie Award have on winners’ careers?

We don’t know the answer to that yet as we’re only just entering our second year. But I will say with confidence that as The Lovie Awards grow, so too will their potency and meaning to reputations and to businesses. As with their sister awards, The Lovies will come to stand for the real phenomena of the times, the true standards, the things that really touched and effected Internet culture and practice, the really defining examples, not the trends and fashions rampaging through industry bubbles that never reach beyond them.

What previous winners have best summed up the spirit of the awards, in your opinion?

Last year, on one hand you had SoundCloud as a world class standard setter of a powerful platform in the music and audio space and on the other a beautiful, funny and charming video from a small Portuguese agency documenting the “nativity” journey across social media. Poles apart, but sharing the same passion for possibility unleashed by the power of imagination and a respect for and impressive crafting of design and technology.

Bjork won ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award last year. How do you go about choosing lifetime achievers in such a fast-moving area?

It’s easy. We just ask ourself who our real heroes are. Who are the examples of great people doing great things, naturally, authentically, creatively with digital at the heart? We’re already excited about this year’s special achievers, but of course we’re keeping them secret until the night!

The Lovie Awards

Image credit: Copyright: Dan Dennison / The Lovie Awards