As 2005 draws to a close, I am overwhelmed by the amount of Web 2.0 startups that this year brought. There were no doubt hundreds or perhaps thousands of new services that came about following on the trend of “Web 2.0”. Developers are beginning to create apps that are truly useful. Characteristics include more user interaction, far more efficient use of technologies such as AJAX, and slick design.
2005 also brought many “me too” companies. It seemed like every other Web 2.0 application was “The Best Social Bookmarking Site” or “The Best Startpage Site” or “Another Boring To-Do List site”. My only hope is that this nonsense ends a quick death by the end of this month. I am optimistic that 2006 is the year of “Web 2.0 Innovation”. It is the next logical step…and I anticipate it with great enthusiasm.
There have been quite a few “top web 2.0 companies of 2005” lists made in the past couple of weeks and I was sick of seeing the same high profile sites over and over again. Here are my picks for Innovative Web 2.0 companies.
To all developers: Your new years resolution should be to innovate, not immitate…we are counting on you!
1. TravBuddy – I like TravBuddy because it allows users to create journals of their journeys. The application mashes up with Google Maps and has some very cool AJAX features. This is a very cool way to discover and research destinations. Out of all the Web 2.0 apps from 2005 I am most excited about Trav Buddy growing and becoming a huge success. I love to travel and I love to research travel destinations. I’m tired of reading snippets from real people rating a hotel and even more tired of reading “about” sections on city websites, hotel pages, etc. This has huge potential.
2. Rollyo – Plain and simple, Rollyo allows you to create a search engine based on any criteria that you see fit. From digital cameras to triathletes, Rollyo is one cool way to gather information. The site is designed well and super easy to use. Great application!
3. TagCloud – Tag cloud is cool because it is loosely based on social bookmarking…and I do mean loosely. I like this site because you can through RSS feeds into it and it will automatically parse keywords and create massive “Tag Clouds”. This is a very innovative way to keep track of news, blogs, etc. that you have in your feed reader.
4. Digg – Viva La Democratic media! Digg was one of this years smash successes, and rightly so. Users submit stories, users “digg” these stories, popular stories go to the homepage, lame stories turn to dust. Digg is the first site I go to every morning to find out whats new in tech. Rumor has it that Digg will be branching away from tech soon, and as long as they do it in a way that doesn’t offend the techies…I can’t wait to read politics.digg.com, and money.digg.com, and bizarre.digg.com.
5. Yahoo Answers – Yahoo has been on a Web 2.0 rampage the past couple of weeks. One property that came out of this is Yahoo Anwers. The site allows you to simply ask a question. Then, the community answers you and users can vote which answer is best. This is one of those apps that might depress you for not thinking of it first. Want to know how to tie a fancy knot? Just ask and in a short time users will tell you! Brilliant!
6. NetWorthIQ – Wanna know how filthy rich you aren’t? NetWorthIQ allows you to enter in your debts, assets, cash, etc. and track your net worth over time. The site is easy to use and you can even compare yourself to other people your age, location, education level, etc. The graphs are pretty and the site really sets itself apart from the Web 2.0 pack.
7. SideJobTrack – Here is a beautiful project management application which, at first glance, seems to be a site in a very a crowded space. It is not! SideJobTrack sets itself apart by catering to more of an offline enviornment. There are tons of useful features such as invoicing, estimates, reports, and of course all the general project management features that all the other applications in this stuffy space have. Two thumbs up for this company going a step above to really carve out a niche.
8. gChart – gChart is a very cool idea based on the Google Maps API. You click anywhere on the map and it tells you the time zone and has a live clock. Who said Web 2.0 had to be fancy? This site proves that you can take a simple idea and create a very useful application. I love it!
9. MooFlex – I first got a glimpse of MooFlex a couple months back when they produced a video of the admin backend. MooFlex is a content management solution that has ajax galore. I give these guys two thumbs up for design and innovation in the content management arena. They are currently in private beta but there is an ultra cool demo on their site.
10. GiveMeaning – “GiveMeaning.com is a website for the $5 philanthropist.” I like this site because it creates a community where people can help people. There are a lot of very cool opportunities to donate to causes that aren’t stemmed from the big likes of Red Cross, etc. I found an organization that was collecting money and support to print brochures to educate the public about suicide. This is a very cool way to help out those in need and a very cool platform indeed.
There you have it folks. My Top 10 List of Innovative Web 2.0 Companies of 2005. Lets hope 2006 spawns a surge of innovation. I am excited about what is going on with internet business right now and I can’t wait to see what the next step is.
Also, lets hope that 2006 spells the death of the social bookmark clones, to do list clones, calendar clones, startpage clones, etc. etc.