Home Best Web LittleCo of 2006 – and Most Promising for 2007

Best Web LittleCo of 2006 – and Most Promising for 2007

This is the third annual Best Web Companies round-up from Read/WriteWeb (ref: 2005 and 2004). This year
we’re spreading it out over 2 separate posts and this is the second one – see yesterday’s
post for Best BigCo of

Best Web LittleCo

It was a very hard decision this year, for a few reasons. Firstly a number of the
frontrunners for Best LittleCo ended up being acquired by the end of the year! This is
probably the nature of the beast – if you’re a successful Web LittleCo, then you’ll
attract the attention of BigCo suiters. This is exactly what happened to our 2004 picks,
Ludicorp (creator of Flickr) and del.icio.us – both of which were snapped up by Yahoo in
2005. Having said that, 2005 LittleCo winner 37Signals is still independent and doing its
own thing.

So to 2006 – which LittleCo’s have most impressed? In our post asking that very
question, the following web apps were popular with commenters: MyBlogLog (the social
networking widget featured in the sidebar of R/WW and other blogs), Meebo (web-based IM),
DigitalJournal.com (social news), 30Boxes (online calendar), Zoho (web office suite),
Clipmarks (social bookmarking), Netvibes (start page). Those were the ones that were
mentioned more than once.

Companies that were not mentioned, but we think are worthy contenders, are: Digg (social news),
Feedburner (feed management), Facebook (social networking), Sharpcast (sync), JotSpot
(web office), last.fm and pandora (online music), Metacafe (online video), StumbleUpon
(bookmarking), Bebo (social networking), Zimbra (web office), Userplane (media web
platform), Kaboodle (social shopping), Elgg (e-learning), PlentyOfFish (online dating),
Goowy (desktop suite), SecondLife (virtual world), Riya (photo search), BitTorrent Inc
(P2P)… and there are many more we could mention!

If we had to make a shortlist (and we do, since this is a Best Of!), we think these
small companies had a special impact in 2006… in no particular order: Netvibes, Digg,
Meebo, Bebo, StumbleUpon. Those 5 all came of age in 2006 and each grew

But there’s one “LittleCo” we’ve deliberately left till last and which had an
outstanding impact on 2006. This particular company got snapped up by Google before the
year was out, so they don’t count as a LittleCo any more. But for most of 2006 they built
up a huge audience on their own and came to dominate the user-generated video space,
lording it over much bigger competitors (Google itself, Microsoft, Yahoo and others). Of
course, I am talking about YouTube!

YouTube is Read/WriteWeb’s LittleCo of the year, for what they achieved as a tiny
startup doing big things. Ironically they are now owned by this year’s BigCo of the year,

Most Promising Web Company

With this category we’re looking for companies that showed big promise in 2006, but
will probably not reach their peak until 2007 or beyond. In 2004 we gave this honor to
Feedburner, who at that time were right at the forefront of a new industry called feed
management. Well, they’ve done alright for themselves haven’t they… And in 2005,
Memeorandum and Digg.com were our choices. Digg has come of age this year, although they
still mainly appeal to a minority tech audience. TechMeme has expanded into new
verticals, but like Digg there is room for more growth yet.

The following shortlist of Web companies/products stood out for us as having a lot of
promise for 2007 and beyond: Sharpcast, Zoho, Zimbra, YouOS, MyBlogLog. Also there are
some long bets we could make, like Hakia (semantic search) or BitTorrent, Inc (Bram
Cohen’s P2P company). 

The winner though is Sharpcast, because
it is solving a big problem (syncing data across Web, desktop and other devices) and also
is an integral part of many different trends that will be popular in 2007 and beyond –
mobile, rich media, a world of multiple devices, and more. If Sharpcast can successfully
roll out its Project
in 2007 – which will sync all types of data – then it will be hitting a
very sweet spot in the world of Internet-connected data.

Your Feedback

So what do you think – do you agree with our choices?

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.