Monday, 29 November 2010

Happy Talk

The Prime Minister wants to spend £2m of the money he insists the country no longer has on asking Britons how they are feeling. The resulting Index of Felicity will be used to inform us how, despite mass unemployment, repossessions and the denuding of state support for everything from welfare to culture, we are really quite remarkably chipper.

While you are kicking away the ladder, it is always wise to remind the poor fellow desperately clinging to it just how much he will enjoy his fall.

The Conformity of Crowds

In our social networking playgrounds we are fearful to be different least we offend or contravene the rules. The new heresy is not only to have an alternative perspective, but to communicate that perspective. Dispute an online fashion or a beloved digital authority and you are labelled a hater. Where is the love of argument? Why the rush to consensus? Why sign up to the utopian celebration of social media's endless updating of its possibilities without questioning our need for the service provided?

Social networking supports the contemporary myth that we each have voice a worth attending to, while simultaneously seeking to deny the uniqueness and originality of all our voices by trapping us within systems, databases and pre-ordained templates. We are free only to be the same as everyone else.

Were Descartes alive and fiddling with the ends of his moustache in the second decade of the twenty-first century, he might be tempted into a new metaphysical formulation: Others are therefore I am. What’s thinking got to do with it René?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Watch our video of our Website of the Year Awards Reception!

The Good Web Guide Website of the Year Awards from Jez Kay on Vimeo.

For more information on our Website of the Year Awards, click here

A Novel Departure

What of the novel in the digital age?

Is the future Tim Burton’s twitternovel, where anyone can contribute a line in the creation of a story that has the potential to involve millions of writers around the world? Is it the mobile phone novel, which has become a craze in Japan? Penguin has had a go at interactive storytelling, but the excitement surrounding that project was more to do with interactive novelty, than radical content.

At present, we play with our technological tools in search of a new literary art, but find ourselves lost somewhere between form and content. We know there is no sense in carving a longbow in the age of the sub-machine gun, unless we want it for quaint decorative purpose.

Is it time for the novel, as a form, to acknowledge the virtues of brevity? War and Peace was produced in a time when the only distractions were sex and alcohol. Our attention is now so fragmented that even the idea of producing a novel of 300 pages in length seems a little absurd. So how to go on? Twitter proves that you can be a philosopher, a wit and a journalist in 140 characters or fewer. Can you also be a novelist?

The Good Web Cast Show Eight: I Never Promised You A Walled Garden

In 1990 the World Wide Web went live at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva. Sir Tim-Berners-Lee’s hypertext application, which he made freely available, transformed the internet, helping to take it out of the universities and the laboratories, and into all our lives.

This week Berners-Lee warned of threats to the web’s principles of universality and neutrality, claiming that gated communities on Facebook and proprietary spaces such as iTunes undermine the free flow of information online.

This week’s Good Webcast examines Berners-Lee’s claims, and asks, in the battle to control the web, who will win?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

And the Website of the Year 2010 is...

This week, over a hundred movers and shakers in the web world gathered at the Royal Institution in London for The Good Web Guide’s Website of the Year 2010 Award Reception, which took place as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.


Shipping & delivery company,, was announced as the winner by ex-BBC Dragon, Doug Richard, who commented:

“Entrepreneurs see problems and manufacture opportunities. They come up with innovations the world has never seen before, and they put them to work. saves money, time and natural resources by connecting those who want to ship something with those who transport things for a living. A simple thought… a simple online solution… a critical change in the logistics of transport, not just for London, but the UK.”


Set up in October 2009, the idea for came about one and a half years earlier while Angus Elphinstone, aged just 25, was running a delivery business, White Van Gentlemen. After spotting a gap in the market for cheap nationwide deliveries and shared vans – known in the industry as part loads, he registered the url and began planning the business. 25% of vans travel empty in the UK and 50% travel half full, meaning a lot of air is transported at large cost to transport companies, wasting unnecessary fuel - it wasn't difficult to get the couriers on board with the idea, and was born.

Angus expressed delight and surprise at winning the award, "Winning the award was beyond our expectations against such tough competition! As the ANYVAN concept is such a new service our greatest challenge to date is communicating the concept and winning this award will without doubt add further credibility to the ANYVAN brand. Thank you The Good Web Guide."


As winner of The Good Web Guide Website of the Year Award 2010, will win:

* £1,000 cash to spend on the business and £500 of advertising on The Good Web Guide.
* A one-day photo shoot with Tim James from The Gray Gallery (£1,500)
* A full SEO audit and follow up consultation with SEOptimise (£750)
* A press release prepared by Kenyon Communications on the subject of their choosing with full media distribution (£500)
* Two hours free singing for 8 people at any Lucky Voice venue (£180)

THE JUDGES was picked as winner of this year’s award after long deliberation by a panel of four judges. These included: Sophie Cornish, co-founder of, Mark Glynne-Jones, founder of JumpTo Consultancy, and Jamie Murray-Wells, founder of and

The final judge Sarah Beeny, founder of and was unable to comment on due to its partnership with, but noted: “The Good Web Guide Website of the Year had some fantastic entries and there was some incredibly strong competition. It was a tough job judging the entries as so many of them got very high scores. The finalists all had some aspects which made them worthy of winning.”


The five Highly Commended sites in this year’s award include:

* – “A great concept which is fun to browse and easy to use. It provides a fantastic platform to connect activities and events with people and their interests across the globe.” Sophie Cornish,

* – “Appeals on a number of levels particularly for content and functionality. Discounted designer furniture with no compromise on quality, a fact underpinned by profiles of designers and production and nice touches when it comes to tracking orders.” Mark Glynne-Jones,

* – “Lets people define their personal style and visual identity online, connecting shoppers with their clothing designers worldwide in the process.” Doug Richard, founder of

* – "A truly integrated site that makes it remarkably easy to find and buy quality beds, mattresses and bed linen." Arabella Dymoke, The Good Web Guide.

* – This user-friendy site helps parents to fulfill very specific childcare requirements without going through an agency, the idea being to save money. It is “developing a niche extremely effectively,” says Jamie Murray-Wells, founder of and


This year, we opened up the shortlist to our readers to let them choose the site that they thought should win. Their choice in The People's Choice Award was none other than! A very big congratulations to the team.


The Good Web Guide Website of the Year Award is now in its second year and aims to champion start-up web businesses. The judges decided that this year’s winning site should have been trading for at least and have the potential for exponential growth. is an interesting concept well executed with lots of real-time information available on the site and operates in step with our times, both on the economical and green fronts. It is hoped that will gain lots of mileage from winning the award.

"The Good Web Guide once again showcases how an entrepreneur’s innovation and creativity can translate into important efficiencies and new wealth for the communities they live in.” Doug Richard, founder of

The Good Webcast Show Seven: The Website of the Year Award

The second annual Good Web Guide Website of the Year award ceremony took place on Tuesday 16th November. At the Royal Institution in Mayfair, where Faraday helped make the modern world, a large crowd of web entrepreneurs gathered to hear erstwhile Dragon Doug Richard read out the winners.

The big prize went to, while the People's Choice award went to Netmums, whose co-founder Siobhan Freegard described it as being "like X-Factor for websites."

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The See Through Coalition

It's been a big week for Mr. Cameron. No, no, no, not the visit to China, where our noble premier is pretending to be interested in that country's human rights record to please the Liberals in his Coalition, but the launch of the Transparency section of the Number 10 website, which gives humble voters the chance to check up on the government, a review of which you can read here.

On an extremely similar theme, Seren Lloyd, who occasionally pens casual frippery for The Good Web Guide on matters pertaining to the internet, has come up with a few suggestions for ways the government can make itself even more open to the public.

As they say in Whitehall, if you can't see through it, it ain't transparent.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Good Webcast Show Six: Fry's Last Tweet

A specially reduced length podcast this week in honour of the subject matter: Twitter and how best to leave it.

With Stephen Fry having departed the microblogging website in what appears to be a considerable huff following the controversy over his views on women and sex, we take a brief look at how to say goodbye to your followers and what impact Fry's leaving might have on the popularity of Twitter.