Friday, March 03, 2006

Social media companies that *may* make a difference

Doing some time off with Mom (in the pics on the right). Great skiing in Italy ....

OK ... for some reason, I've been asked about action - who's doing what - new companies that will get into social web technologies so I googled around and here's a list.

Remember, the new culture on the Web is all about consumer creation; it's composed of things like the nearly 30 million blogs out there and the 70 million photos available on Flickr. With a click, anyone can be a journalist, a photographer or a DJ.

Some of the most useful sites will be those that either help "mash up" -- meaning mix and match -- content from other parts of the Web or act as a filter for the overwhelming mountains of information now at people's fingertips. These companies use content already on the Web as a starting point and then improve on it by organizing it in a new way.

The audience -- that 1 billion-plus throng linked by the Web--itself is creating a new type of social media. That's leading to the creation of hundreds of promising Next Net businesses and here goes:

Digg - News aggregator
Why? The site's links are picked by the readership, which has been doubling every three months; news items with the most votes make the homepage. - Social radio
Why? Its software creates a personalized streaming radio station based on the digital music you already listen to, shares your playlist on the Web and suggests music from other closely related playlists.

Newsvine - Collaborative publisher
Why? Readers vote and comment on stories but can also organize their own pages and write their own stories, for which they collect 90 percent of associated ad revenues.

Tagworld - Social networking
Why? With cutting-edge Web software enabling blogs, photo and music sharing, online dating, and more, members confront a rich smorgasbord of ways to interact, and everything can be tagged for easy searching.

YouTube - Video sharing
Why? This site lets people upload, watch, and share millions of video clips. All videos are converted to Flash making them easy to import into blogs or webpages.

Why? Hoping to dominate social media, it's gobbling up promising startups (, Flickr, Webjay) and experimenting with social search (My Web 2.0) that ranks results based on shared bookmarks and tags.

Bloglines - Online feed reader
Why? The site collects blogs and news from all over the Web and presents it in one consistent, updated, multifeed mashup.

Eurekster - Search mashup
Why? This do-it-yourself search engine, or swicki, allows you to define sites you want to search, post the results on your blog or website, and get a cut of any search ads your audience clicks on.

Simply Hired - Job search engine
Why? It searches nearly 4.5 million listings on other job and corporate sites; subscribers receive an RSS feed or e-mail alert when a job that meets their parameters pops up.

Trulia- Real estate mashup
Why? Combining home listings from agents' websites with Google Maps, the site is becoming a hit in California and is expanding into other regions.

Wink - Tag search engine
Why? By searching user-generated tags on sites like and Digg, Wink filters the Web so users can sort links into different collections and add their own tags and bookmarks.

Why? Already the ultimate Web filter through general search as well as blog, news, shopping, and now video search, it's encouraging mashups of Google Maps and search results, and offers a free RSS reader.

SIPphone - Internet phone software
Why? Its Gizmo Project application allows free PC-to-PC calls, cheap PC-to-phone calls, and sound effects.

Iotum - Presence management software
Why? With its app, users will be able to control where and when they receive voice or text data, routing calls to their phones, e-mail, or RSS feed-and blocking calls from, say, uhmmm, creditors.

Vivox - Peer-to-peer voice technology
Why? Its service integrates voice, video, messaging, and social-networking capabilities into existing data networks.

eBay (Skype)
Why? The pioneer in the field and still the front-runner, Skype brings together free calling, IM, and video calling over the Web; eBay will use it to create deeper connections between buyers and sellers.

JotSpot - Wikis and online spreadsheets
Why? A pioneer of Web collaboration apps, a.k.a. wikis, it has unveiled its new Tracker application, which provides a powerful, highly collaborative online spreadsheet.

37Signals - Online project management
Why? Its Basecamp app, elegant and inexpensive, enables the creation, sharing, and tracking of to-do lists, files, performance milestones, and other key project metrics; related app Backpack, recently released, is a powerful online organizer for individuals. Microsoft is looking at them .....

Writely - Online word processing
Why? It enables online creation of documents, opens them to collaboration by anyone anywhere, and simplifies publishing the end result on a website as a blog entry.

Zimbra - Online e-mail
Why? Taking aim at Microsoft Outlook, its Ajax-based application can, among other things, bring up your calendar for any date your mouse encounters, launch Skype for any phone number, or retrieve a Google map for any address.

Why? It's becoming a major Web platform by opening up its software protocols and encouraging anyone to use its catalog and other data; its Alexa Web crawler, which indexes the Net, can be used as the basis for other search engines, and its Mechanical Turk site solicits humans across cyberspace to do things that computers still can't do well, such as identify images or transcribe podcasts.


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