Best practice case studies have become very popular within commercial information systems and information and communication technology (ICT) for development discourses. Best practices claim to offer a way to quickly become as good as the leaders in a particular domain, without making their mistakes. An initiative that promotes the sharing of best practices is the World Summit Awards (WSA), which, through a global contest, identifies and promotes best practices in local e-content and applications. The paper explores the process whereby organisations apply and are judged as winners, in addition to conducting a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of selected WSA-related texts, to determine the underlying assumptions and beliefs of WSA regarding the concept of “best practice”. It holds up the findings against two principles that are fundamental to effective best practice promulgation. Ultimately it finds the WSA falling short of its intended goals because of the way in which it chooses and presents best practice cases.