Winners in the People's Choice Best Sites Competition

Voting closed in mid-October in the People's Choice awards in conjunction
with the Pocket PC
Summit
. Over 3,000 people voted on their favorite web sites, generating a
few surprises.

Dale Coffing's Pocket PC
Passion
bested Microsoft's PocketPC.Com
in the General category, 33% to 30%. This is a surprise--what was initially a
hobbyist site topping Microsoft's excellent site. It just shows the power of
individual enthusiasm for the Pocket PC.

Also, Dale's site is a weblog, creating a powerful sense of community. In the
News/Reviews category, another weblog, Jason Dunn's Pocket
PC Thoughts
, won a remarkable 61% of the vote. Weblogs are clearly very
popular.

The voting was fairly even in the Downloads category, with ZDNet
and CNet
Download.Com
tying for first place at 30%. Not far behind was Tucows
with 22%. In the Community category, Brighthand
's forums were the most popular, with 34% of the vote compared to 25% for PDABuzz.

The surprise winner in the eBooks category was "Other," with 27%.
The next closest was the U
of Virginia eBook Library
with 16% and PeanutPress.Com
not far behind with 14%. This makes me think that I must have overlooked some
major eBook sites in picking candidates for the voting, but I sure don't know
what they are. If you know, please e-mail me jim_karpen [at] pocketpcmag [dot] com.

In the FAQs category, Microsoft
Club Pocket PC FAQs
came out ahead with 36%, just slightly ahead of Chris De
Herrera's famous repository, CEWindows.Net,
which received 28%. In the Shopping category, Handango
was way out in front with a remarkable 47%.

In the Entertainment category, PocketTV
won, with 28%, though some complained that it properly should have been limited
to the voting in the software competition. Hard to say. Microsoft's WindowsMedia.com
was second, with 15%.

A late addition to the voting was the Developer category, with deVBuzz.com
coming out ahead at 22%.

It was fun watching the voting. And it was excruciating too, because it
generated some heated controversy. And of course it was painful, knowing that
many wonderful web sites came in second or lower. This doesn't diminish their
extraordinary contribution to the Pocket PC community. All of the sites in the
competition, and many more not listed, play an important role and are greatly
appreciated by their many users.

There were some complaints about the categories, about omissions (I really
should have included WiredGuy.com),
and about cheating. It is indeed possible to cheat, even though our webmaster
used a variety of ways to curtail it, including IP blocking.

Next year we'll be back with another competition. Like this year you'll get a
chance to vote. But next year we'll also be using judges for the main awards,
just like we did with software this year. This is because online voting can be
manipulated unfairly, but also because sometimes the most popular isn't always
the best. Sometimes a product or site is popular, for example, because it was
the first in the market. Our judges will develop strict criteria and then see
how the sites measure up against those criteria. Maybe the most popular site
will win, but maybe it won't. And I'm confident that our categories of
competition will be even more useful than those this year.

All of this has a purpose--to guide our readers to the best products and
services for the Pocket PC. Yes, we are eager to recognize those who win, but
even more important is the role Pocket PC magazine plays in guiding you toward
the best.

As always, you'll find all these sites listed in a handy fashion on our Best
Sites
page.

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