Social Networking Awards - The Top Social Networks of 2008 part 2

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SEO Summary:Social Networking Awards - The Top Social Networks of 2008

6. Video Sharing



Our Choice: YouTube

People’s Choice: Gotuit

Hot for 2007: Metacafe, Motionbox, Revver, vSocial, StupidVideos, Blip.tv, iFilm, Eyespot

View Nominees

How could we fail to choose YouTube for this category? Almost certainly the hottest startup this year, YouTube not only outpaced the competition, but provided a genuine threat to existing media companies. Their acquisition by Google showed just how far the service had come, and the appearance of a YouTube video player on the front page of Time Magazine ended the year on a high. Your pick, meanwhile, was Gotuit, which recently took social tagging a step further with the launch of its SceneMaker tool.

But frankly, there were a lot of interesting video startups this year. We also loved Jumpcut, Grouper, Eyespot, Motionbox, Veoh, Metacafe, Revver, vSocial, vPod.tv, StupidVideos, Blip.tv and iFilm - in fact, all the nominees provide hours of entertainment (or time wasting!), and all have innovated at a fast pace. And let’s not forget about MySpace Video: it might not be a hot startup, but MySpace members seem to be making good use of the video section. In fact, MySpace Video versus YouTube will probably be the hardest fought battle in the video space next year.

7. Startpages



Our Choice: Netvibes

People’s Choice: Pageflakes

Hot for 2007: YourMinis, Protopage, Webwag

View Nominees

There’s little doubt that Pageflakes and Netvibes are considered the top of their class. Having joined late in the game, when Netvibes was already leading the pack, we doubted that Pageflakes could make much headway - they proved us wrong, and Pageflakes is now considered to be one of the strongest contenders in this market. Netvibes also performed well in the voting, while YourMinis attracted a good amount of grassroots support - we gave them a positive review back in November. We think Webwag is also a strong contender, but once again we’re wondering whether the newcomers can make progress in this market.

8. Places and Events



Our Choice: Yelp

People’s Choice: CollegeTonight

Hot for 2007: MingleNow, HeyLetsGo, Planypus, ILCU (and others)

View Nominees

Although neither service has gained must coverage on Mashable this year, largely due to a lack of announcements, we still feel that Yelp and Upcoming.org are among the leading players in this market. Meetup is also an established community that deserves props. The People’s Choice, meanwhile, went to CollegeTonight, which successfully rallied its user base to score a high number of votes.

However, the other nominees were all strong - HeyLetsGo, Vibely, MingleNow, Planypus, ILCU, OnMyCity, Do512, eVelvetRope, Eventful, TripTie, TripAdvisor, Gusto, Travelistic and the rest. We feel, however, that this market is still getting established, and that makes it hard to tell which of the newcomers will make gains. We hope to return to these sites throughout 2007.

9. Music



Our Choice: Last.fm

People’s Choice: ReverbNation, MOG

Hot for 2007: Pandora, YourSpins, Rapspace, ProjectOpus, iLike, Splice, MusicHawk and More

View Nominees

When it came to choosing our favorite musical site, it really came down to two choices: Last.fm and Pandora. The clincher: Last.fm has always been inherently social, while Pandora has only added social features very recently, and we’ve yet to see how users react to them. The People’s Choice, meanwhile, was neck and neck - when we closed the voting, the number of votes for ReverbNation and MOG was so close that we’re declaring both as the winners. We don’t strongly disagree with your choice: we gave positive reviews to both sites earlier this year. However, we’d also like to say that ProjectOpus, YourSpins, Qloud, iLike, Jamendo, Splice, Bandwagon, Finetune, MusicHawk and - quite frankly - all the suggestions we received for this category have been great. Generally speaking, musical social networks seem to be of a very high caliber. Although it launched in pre-Mashable days, we’re also big fans of PureVolume, which is considered to be the leading musical social network by many, many users.

10. Social Shopping



Our Choice: Etsy

People’s Choice: ThisNext

Hot for 2007: Crowdstorm, Kaboodle, ShopWiki, StyleFeeder

View Nominees

Kaboodle is probably one of the first startups that come to mind when you think of social shopping, but we decided to pick a startup that we think has been a great innovator: Etsy. Etsy doesn’t compete directly with the other contenders - it’s more like eBay than a shopping directory - but we like their “shop by color” tools, their “Time Machine” and their “GeoLocator”. That said, we’re also big fans of UK startup Crowdstorm and your choice, ThisNext. StyleFeeder is new to the scene, and has a strong offering - we think it could get traction in 2007. Likewise, ShopWiki and Hawkee get credit for creating strong products this year.

11. Mobile



Our Choice: Twitter

People’s Choice: Wadja

Hot for 2007: Friendstribe, JuiceCaster, Zingku, Moblabber, Zemble, Veeker, Treemo

View Nominees

The mobile space is just getting started: in fact, we don’t think anyone will know the true winners here until mid 2007. Call us geeky, but we liked Twitter’s lightweight mobile blogging service this year, while the People’s Vote went to Wadja, which offers mobile social networking via text message. That said, we simply don’t know how this market will shake out, and for most of these startups, it’s just too early to judge. At the start of the year, it seemed that Dodgeball, which was acquired by Google in 2005, would be a hot favorite. But the service seems to have been less buzzworthy this year, and we’re not really sure why.

12. Niche and Miscellaneous Social Networks

Our Choice: Flixster

People’s Choice: Dogster, LibraryThing

Hot for 2007: SneakerPlay, MothersClick, Motortopia, Minti, ComicSpace, Curbly, MyChurch, Ziki, VeryLiberating, ITtoolbox, Fanpop, ShareYourLook, FamilyThrive, Blubrry, innerTee, Listal, ConnectingMoms, FirstGiving, RealityAllStarz, CafeMom, BeGreen, AdFemme, Dianovo, eLifeList, CampusBug, SnehaH, HumanOpinion, MerchantCircle, Barrio305, GenevaOnline, MDJunction (list too long to post images!)

View Nominees

We’ve said before that Dogster, the social network that lets dogs connect (or more accurately, their adoring owners), is the premier example of serving a niche. We also received lots of positive feedback on LibraryThing when we covered them in the past - maybe it’s unsurprising, then, that these two sites were almost perfectly tied when it came to the voting. So we did the fair thing and awarded both sites top ranking. Our choice, meanwhile, was Flixster - we feel that Flixster has a product that will appeal strongly to mainstream users (and if their claimed stats are true, it already is), but that it will go under the radar for the geek elite.

Admittedly, however, the niche networks category was a bit like comparing an orange to a spaceship and asking which one is better: they’re just not comparable. As a result, the “Hot for 2007″ section became much more lengthy than with the other categories. We also feel that a number of niche networks missed out on nominations (perhaps because it’s nearing the holidays), and frankly any site covered on Mashable over the past year could have been eligible.

When going through this process, we realized that we hate picking winners, since it implies that there must be losers. In reality, the web is so diverse that there can be hundreds of successful social sites, each catering to slightly different groups of people. We think the end results delivered an interesting set of startups, but we’d love to hear your feedback.

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