The Top 10 Web 2.0 Losers list was an interesting look at companies and sites that possibly haven’t lived up to their potential in this era of the web. Today I am going to look at the top 10 sites that I feel have exceeded the expectations of many and have taken marketshare away from established leaders or have become leaders themselves in their industries. Again, these sites don’t have to represent the Web 2.0 concept of rounded corners and AJAX technology, they are simply showing strength during this time of the web.
- Myspace. Love it or hate it, this is the top dog on the Web right now and it doesn’t look like anyone is going to take it down anytime soon. With Myspace it was never about the feature set or interface because other sites offer more and look better, it was always about the community (if you are not on Myspace, you are not on anywhere) and the control you had over your page. What fascinates me the most about the site though is that it has gone beyond being just a social site and has now become a social platform where companies form around the sole purpose of developing widgets to use on Myspace.That’s power that any site would love to have. With the amount of people that use the site, any new project that Myspace starts is bound to be an instant hit. Rupert Murdoch is already claiming that Myspace Video will overtake YouTube in 60 days which is no small feat when you consider that YouTube serves over 100MM videos a day.
- WordPress. After dethroning SixApart (losers list) in the self-hosted blogging category, Matt Mullenweg set his sights on the hosted blogging space and has been kicking major ass. What makes this even more intriguing is that WordPress.com is essentially running on Open Source software so you aren’t left with the feeling that development will stop anytime soon as you do with MovableType or Typepad. Add to that, the service is free with addons costing a small price per year and you have a company that has a revenue model that doesn’t revolve around advertising (sad when I get that happy over something like that).
- Flickr. A popular choice on any Web 2.0 list, this was the first real Web 2.0 breakout hit due to its use of tagging and sense of community. After being bought by Yahoo! things don’t seem to be slowing down and through the use of a great set of APIs the service has become a viral phenonmenon.It has yet to really make a splash with the mainstream audience who still use the larger photo-sharing sites, but it is making great strides to catch up. A free service that uses ads or a Pro version which costs a minimal amount of money per year, Flickr has created a revenue model that revolves around the best of both worlds.
- YouTube. In my opinion the most addictive site on the web. There has been a lot of talk lately about the value of YouTube and its ability to stay alive with all the copyrighted content it has on the site, but people tend to forget that the same companies that hold these copyrights are the exact same companies that have been looking for effective ways to reach the younger crowds online. A Chinese kid lip-synching to Backstreet Boys may be copyright infringement due to the use of the song, but how often can a 10 year old song be heard by over 2MM potential buyers in just a couple of days? Companies are starving for this kind of attention and they can get it now without even trying.The company is demanding $1.5 billion to buy them out and it’s quite possible they will find a suitor. For all the talk that people are going to leave in droves to go to other sites that offer money, well let’s just say large sites like this just don’t die in an instant. YouTube will be around for a very long time.
- Revver and MetaCafe. Not nearly as popular as YouTube, but still making large strides these two video sites offer producers monetary rewards for posting videos up on their site. Some of the more popular YouTube directors have been using these sites to generate some cash for their efforts, while still posting on YouTube to gain audience. That’s the kicker, even when another site offers them money for their content, they still post on YouTube because that’s where they will make their mark.With revenue-sharing in place and a model similar to YouTube’s, both of these sites are looking very good right now.
- Newsvine. Simply how news sites will be done in the 21st Century. With the way syndication of news works, you can read the same story in multiple places, but Newsvine offers reader feedback and a strong community to complement the news you read everyday. If participating isn’t your thing, you are still provided with up to the minute news reports just like any other news site.Newsvine’s audience is mature and knowledgeable and doesn’t cater to just the geek crowd, which is refreshing in this era of the web. A clean design, the type you would expect from Mike Davidson, help to make the site a pleasure to get around.
- Yahoo. The largest and strongest company on the list has a sense of where the web is moving. With early acquisitions of Flickr and del.icio.us, Yahoo understands the value of community sites with user-generated content. Now they are the forerunner in getting Facebook so even when people being to panic due to the cutback in advertising it still looks like clear skies for Yahoo.And if you don’t believe in the power of being acquired by a big company, del.icio.us has just announced they have registered their one millionth user and showing a growth rate that has tripled since being acquired.
- Digg. There isn’t much to say about Digg that hasn’t already been said. It has taken old school concepts and remixed them in a way that has become addicting. With over 500k registered users in less than two months their growth is almost unmatched. What makes this site so great and why it will continue to grow is the ease of use of the site. After registering you are thrown right into the action and can participate simply by clicking a Digg button. As the community grows their will be more and more turmoil, but that won’t hide the fact that if you are looking for interesting stories and sites, Digg will remain the #1 place to go for a very long time.If you run a site there is no greater pleasure than having an article reach the Digg frontpage. If you want traffic, this is where the action is and that will help keep the site fresh moving upwards.
- Skype. If you use VoIP you use Skype. That’s pretty much all you need to know.
- Facebook. Potentially to be bought out by Yahoo for $1 billion, Facebook makes a strong case for not trying to cater to everyone. However, things will change now that they have opened registrations for all to use. However, the fact that you can’t manipulate your page like you can with Myspace may show that users want freedom and control if you want their attention.Of course with such a great user interface I may be proven wrong.
This list was a bit harder to make than the Losers list because there were a couple of sites that could have easily made it.
I am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens to all of these companies in the next year.
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