YouTube Awards to OK Go, 'Ask a Ninja'


NEW YORK -- YouTube highlighted its starmaking ability Monday by unveiling its first batch of YouTube Video Award winners, several of which have become virtual household names over the past year.

Power pop band OK Go and the video series "Ask a Ninja" were among the seven winners in the video-sharing site's inaugural awards. YouTube last week selected 10 nominees in seven categories, the winners of which were decided by user votes.

It was a quick, hasty process begun and concluded in just a week -- a far cry from the many months of, say, Oscar campaigning.

OK Go, perhaps the most professional of the mostly amateur nominees, won most creative video for its "Here It Goes Again" music video. "Ask a Ninja," the comedy created by Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine, won for best series.

"Ask a Ninja" triumphed over what may be YouTube's biggest celebrity, Lonelygirl15. That bedroom production finished fourth, behind "Ask A Gay Man" and "Chad Vader."

Terra Naomi won for best music video for her song "Say It's Possible," a one-shot clip of her playing acoustic guitar and singing. Naomi has parlayed her online success into a record deal with Island Records and will release her debut album this summer.

Similar to how an actor might thank the Academy for an Oscar, Naomi paid her respects to the YouTube community.

"The YouTube community has really embraced me; it means a lot to me," Naomi told The Associated Press on Monday. "The YouTube community are the people who listened to my music, watched my videos and decided that they like it. That's what ended up drawing the attention of a whole bunch of major labels."

Best commentary was one of the most hotly contested categories, as it pitted several of YouTube's most high-profile personalities against one another. A "vlogger" known as "The Wine Kone" won over Peter Oakley ("Geriatric1927") and Paul Robinett ("Renetto").

A video calling for a "Free Hugs Campaign" won for most inspirational video. Australian Juan Mann's video set off an online wildfire of similar "Free Hugs" campaigns.

Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, also known as Smosh, won for best comedy video. Dony Permedi's animated video "Kiwi!" -- which began as a master's thesis on animation -- won for most adorable video.

The winners and nominees are compiled in a gallery at YouTube says it will later unveil what a YouTube Video Award will look like.

YouTube product manager Michael Powers told the AP that a trophy will be announced in about six weeks, which he hopes will be followed by videotaped acceptance speeches from the winners.

"It's always interesting for us to make something in 'the real world' -- something like a trophy that would be like the Emmys or the Oscars," Powers said.

YouTube Inc. -- based in San Bruno, Calif., and owned by Google -- was founded in February 2005. Media conglomerate Viacom Inc. recently 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.