NEW YORK - Lonelygirl15, OK Go and other YouTube sensations will get an opportunity to walk down a virtual red carpet.
The video-sharing Web site announced Monday that it will hold the first YouTube Video Awards to recognize the best-user created videos of 2006. The awards will be handed out in seven categories: most creative, most inspirational, best series, best comedy, musician of the year, best commentary and "most adorable video ever."
The nominees, picked by YouTube, are compiled in a gallery at www.youtube.com/YTAwards. YouTube community members can vote on their favorites beginning Monday and concluding on Friday. The winners, as chosen by the community, will be announced March 25. Each will be prominently featured on YouTube and receive a trophy, the design of which will be revealed later.
Success on the site has previously been defined largely by rankings of the most-viewed or most-discussed videos.
"We wanted to call out some of the most popular videos and let the users choose which ones deserve some additional recognition," said Jamie Byrne, head of product marketing at YouTube.
The vast and varied world of online video has gradually formed styles all its own, which figured into the formation of the categories.
"We looked at the genres of content that were the most popular last year," Byrne said. "We've seen and continue to see exciting new developments in the online video space where genres are being created."
Among the nominees are noted "vloggers" Paul Robinett ("Renetto") and Peter Oakley ("Geriatric1927"). The comedy of Barats and Bereta, and Smosh, is also nominated, as are series such as Lonelygirl15's and "Ask a Ninja." The power pop band OK Go is perhaps the most professional of the nominees; it's nominated for the famous treadmill-choreographed music video, "Here It Goes Again."
Whether the YouTube Video Awards becomes a permanent, annual affair is likely, Byrne said, but it will depend on how the first awards are received.
"We want to see how the community responds to it, but we can see this being something that grows as we continue to grow and becomes a bigger and more exciting event in the future," Byrne said. An in-person ceremony is possible in the future.
Google-owned, San Bruno, Calif.-based YouTube Inc. was founded in February 2005. Last week, media conglomerate Viacom Inc. sued YouTube for $1 billion, claiming the site infringes on copyrights on a "huge scale." Several other media companies have reached agreements to supply YouTube with clips.
According to comScore Media Metrix, YouTube attracted 133.5 million visitors worldwide in January.