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The Online Shopping Awards

Best Bargain Fashion Website: ASOS not only hosts an adorable and affordable selection, but it is constantly updated and the sheer size of their product offering will make you dizzy.  They are constantly having incredible sales and their search function makes it easy to stick to a budget, since you can filter search results by price as well as type. Best Vintage Vibe: NastyGal offers a variety of vintage items including denim vests and varsity jackets to wear over the rocker tees that they’re best known for.  They feature some easily affordable articles as well as splurge-worthy dresses, tops and pants from luxury brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, and Burberry. Best Swimwear: While shopping for swimwear online may be daunting, Everything But Water has perfected the art of finding the ideal fit for you.  Their Perfect Fit Finder takes into account your body type and preference, then returns a personalized shopping experience that only includes suits that fit your specifications. Most Unique Way to Buy Unmentionables: Taking the swimwear personalized model to the next level, True & Co quizzes potential customers on their favorite bra, body shape, desired fit, and preferences before displaying any products.  Based on the answers to the quiz, they curate a personalized shop of bras that accounts for sizing variations across different brands, while fitting into the customer’s preferences.  They are so confident in the desirability of their choices that they offer an option for risk-free, at-home try on.  Pay a refundable deposit, choose three bras to try on at home, plus they’ll add two more they think you’ll love, and then you simply return the ones you don’t want, free of charge. Best Return Policy: Zappos is the perfect website for those of us who like to buy now, decide later, because they offer a 365 day return window.  As long as the product is unworn and includes the original packaging, the site will offer a full refund.   The...

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Most Comprehensive Rich List: Born Rich

The American public has always harbored a fascination with the rich and famous, spawning an entire industry of gossip magazines and websites focused entirely on the lives of these celebrities.  Where they live, what they wear, where they go and what they eat are all subject to scrutiny, with the general public consuming every scrap of information regarding their living habits.  One of the frequent topics of curiosity is just how much money these people have, partially to put it into perspective and partially because the average person can’t even fathom controlling that much money.  This widespread interest in celebrity wealth has given birth to a variety of websites keeping tabs on the net worth of some of the world’s richest people, including lists of the richest of the rich. Receiving the award for Most Comprehensive Rich List is a site called Born Rich, which not only catalogues a celebrity’s net worth, but also what they do with it.  Each celebrity’s profile includes a list of homes and estates, yachts, planes, or cars, and even favored holiday destinations.  As a nod to decency, the site also features any charities that a certain celebrity might support.  The widespread set of features is not the only reason for this site taking home the gold; they are quite comprehensive, featuring in-depth profiles for even lesser known celebrities and other wealthy individuals. Take Vikram Chatwal for example.  An Indian-American hotelier, his estimated net worth is $450 million; clearly much more than the average person will make in a lifetime, but a sum that pales in comparison to the $73 billion boasted by members of the site’s top 10.  However, despite his lack of renown, Vikram’s profile is still a full-featured affair including pictures and information about his life and preferences that Wikipedia doesn’t even touch upon. It is this commitment to excellence and thoroughness that puts Born Rich a step above similar websites.  Any site can feature profiles on Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, but many aren’t dedicated...

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Best Fictional Blog: Manka Bros. Studio

When searching online for information about any large Hollywood event or incident, it’s likely that the searcher will stumble on a blog about the topic by Khan Manka, Jr.  Whether he’s blogging about attending Chelsea Clinton’s wedding or being the keynote speaker at ComicCon, Manka is apparently present at some of the country’s most exclusive events.  His coverage of Herbert Allen’s annual (and very private) Sun Valley retreat features accounts of famous executives behaving in ridiculous manners, including drinking heavily and arguing over trivial matters.  Now if you’re thinking that these claims seem a little unlikely and wondering exactly who this Manka guy is, you’re not alone. Real coverage of these events never mention his name; he exists only in the blogosphere as the fictional chairman of the “world’s largest media company,” Manka Bros. Studio.  According to its website, the studio specializes in theatre, music, television, publishing, etc, but all of the projects seem destined for horrible failure, such as “Haunted Alligators: A Manka Classic Movie.”  In reality, Manka is a fictional media baron, son of Bulgarian immigrants, and the creation of John Perry, an executive at Warner Bros. Started in 1991, the blog may be one of the longest running inside-jokes, as Manka still posts almost daily and gets a few thousand visitors a month, mostly from Hollywood insiders. The blog often pokes fun at bad decisions made in the media industry, as well as the media moguls who make said decisions, with a precision that only comes from witnessing them firsthand.  The site details the operations of a company that is humorously similar to how a real media company is structured, with divisions for movies, TV, publishing, music, theater, religion, theme parks and children. Like any respectable media conglomerate, Manka Bros. has a plethora of projects in the works. It plans to launch an awards show where Manka productions are expected to secure several wins, despite the current upheaval as they fight off a hostile takeover by a larger rival. Runner Up:...

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Best Department of Commerce Website: South Carolina

While every state has a department of commerce, or its equivalent, not all of these departments have their own functioning websites containing useful information.  Some have no website at all, while others have a website including only the bare minimum of functionality, therefore being of very little use to the common person.  As the general function of a department of commerce is to promote economic growth, it is important that a good DOC website provides information on its prominent industries, promotes the state as a worthy place to do business, and offers resources to current and prospective business owners. The South Carolina website for its DOC fits this bill in every respect, which is why it receiving the award for Best Department of Commerce Website. With a section entirely devoted to “The SC Advantage,” the website highlights plenty of reasons why South Carolina should be the first choice for your next business venture.  There is also a large and easily navigated resource section, in addition to a business network area.  Between the two, they house an extremely comprehensive overview of the many resources South Carolina has to offer a potential businessperson, as well as useful tools for current business owners who the state hopes to retain. However, setting them apart from the crowd and earning them the first place spot are their separate microsites for the most prominent industries, including the aerospace and automobile industries.  The aerospace industry microsite includes a list of every airport in the state, while the automobile site features all of the manufacturers in the area, with a spotlight on the three biggest contributors to the state economy. These bonus features go above and beyond the call of duty for a DOC website and earned South Carolina the top spot. Runner Up: Washington Earning an honorable mention in the runner up position was the DOC website for the state of Washington, which also has a great many features and resources.  Although the Washington website holds an even more thorough database...

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