The first W4D conference took place in Washington D.C in 2003. The CIO of the Bank (Mohammed Muhsin) suggested that the Bank host a conference after hearing that other site managers in the UN family frequently telephoned asking questions about management, technology, new applications. The Bank did not always have answers, so he thought it would be good to bring people together to discuss. Over 100 people from 40-plus agencies and NGOs came to the first meeting. Some of the key topics were: Open Standards for Information Access; Web as an Agent of Change; The Next Generation of the Web; Google - Challenges and Opportunities; Promoting Internal Web Thinking; From Chaos to Cohesion; The Future of Web Development; and IT Enabled Collaboration among others.

As a result of these conferences, many organizations started to develop their own courses for Web Managers and writers. Enjoying widespread recognition and adoption, a focus on web content developed and delivered with an understanding of stakeholder needs became highlighted as a key concern of the group and mainstreamed into some programmatic areas.