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Entry deadline Feb. 10 for Web awards

Soundings Trade Only joins with Boats.com and the NMMA to salute the industry’s leading sites

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Boats.com, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Soundings Trade Only are sponsoring this year’s North American Marine Industry Web Awards, which recognize the importance of the Internet to the boating business.

The deadline for entries is Feb. 10.

“This is a genuine attempt to get the industry to buck up, take notice, recognize the effectiveness of the Internet, because these are tough, challenging times,” says James Nolan, president of James Nolan Industries, a consultant and former general manager of Boats.com and Yachtworld.com.

“There are still 17 million boats out there,” says Nolan. “Most of them are going to be used this year, new ones will be bought, some of them will be sold, and most of them will require some form of product and service. So it’s in our best interest to be as professional and proactive as possible. Web sites … are an essential aspect of this.”

Awards will be given in the following categories, two of which are new for 2009:

• Best OEM/Manufacturer Site: For boat manufacturers’ Web sites that demonstrate creativity in design, ease of navigation and up-to-date, relevant content.

• Best Marine Equipment Site: For equipment manufacturers’ Web sites that demonstrate creativity in design, ease of navigation and up-to-date, relevant content.

• Best Dealer/Broker Site: For power- or sailboat dealer and broker Web sites that demonstrate creativity in design, ease of navigation and up-to-date, relevant content.

• Best Marine Site — Editorial Content (new): Open to any marine site with editorial content that engages, informs, promotes and compels action.

• Best Marine Site — Discover Boating (new): Open to any marine site with content that embraces and supports the Discover Boating ethos.

Nolan says it is important to recognize those promoting the Discover Boating message, despite a decision last year to temporarily put a hold on a national advertising campaign.

“The industry should be supporting the Discover Boating initiative by having on its own Web sites a similarity of message,” he says. “In order to keep the industry focused on Discover Boating which is a good program, we’ve added that category.”

Judges for the Web awards include Jorian Clarke, Adam Heneghan, Larry Rains and Fernando Regueiro.
Clarke is founder and CEO of SpectraCom, a Milwaukee-based interactive marketing agency focusing on strategic developments in market research, marketing, sales and electronic publishing.

Heneghan is president of Elevation, a Chicago-based digital agency that includes the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Discover Boating and Orbitz as clients.

Rains is marketing manager for Boats.com and YachtWorld.com. Prior to working with Boats.com and YachtWorld.com, Rains owned a Web development company.

Regueiro is the director of Internet services at the NMMA, and leads the team responsible for development and maintenance of more than 45 Web sites under the NMMA umbrella.

To nominate a company or an individual, complete the online application on the Web Awards Web site, www.marinewebawards.com, which includes all relevant award information.

The winning companies in each of the categories will be featured in the April issue of Soundings Trade Only.

This article originally appeared in the February 2009 issue.

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