Best growing newish services of 2008 (is Louis Gray right?)

I see Louis Gray has posted a list of his 10 top new web services for 2008.

I thought the list was missing a few of the best new services. So, I did two comparisons:

1. I asked Twitter for what services they liked the best that were new.
2. I compared all of Louis’ top services on Compete.com to my favorite new service, FriendFeed, to see how they measured up in traffic.

First, let’s compare in Compete. I included TechMeme in the charts as a baseline since that news service continues to be popular.

1. Twitter Search. Can’t compare here, but Louis is right. This is a service that not only got popular this year but also was acquired by Twitter.
2. SocialMedian. FriendFeed had much more growth this year. But SocialMedian is up and to the right.
3. Backtype. They were up, but only slightly compared to FriendFeed. Jury is still out here.
4. TweetDeck. Guy Kawasaki uses it, so that’s enough evidence. TweetDeck actually grew faster than Backtype or SocialMedian, so they deserve to be higher up on the list.
5. Strands. My friend Francine Hardaway loves Strands, so that’s enough evidence that Louis is right, but they struggled to find an audience this year when compared to the other services on the list.
6. ReadBurner. They struggled more than anyone on this list so far to get growth. Sorry, but in a recession growth is job #1 and no one has come close yet to FriendFeed in growth metric.
7. Feedly. This one is like ReadBurner. Struggling to show growth.
8. Gnip. Flatlined.
9. Toluu. Flatlined.
10. SocialToo. Show a lot of growth in last month. Impressive compared to Feedly, Gnip, Toluu.

What are my favorite new things, written before I started this post?

1. FriendFeed. Growth solid all year long except last month. The best of any of these services mentioned so far.
2. Qik. Good growth earlier this year, then flatlined.
3. TripIt. Nice solid growth all year long, but not fast enough to get VC’s hot and bothered.
4. Evernote. Solid growth this year, but flatlined past few months.

What about Twitterer’s favorite services? How did they compare? My comments in italics.

jgsilvestrone @scobleizer top new applications:  Green Home Huddle, Green Directory Montana Sorry, Louis Gray is a better picker. These services aren’t even on Compete.com’s traffic list.
TexasGirlErin @Scobleizer ShareThis and newcomer Modista will be something I use in 2009. Wow, we have a winner! ShareThis.com beats FriendFeed’s growth. Louis, how did you miss this one? Modista? Try again, flatline growth.
nickck @Scobleizer friendfeed, zotero (which is the best notating app for firefox). Sorry, Zotero is flatlined, so Louis Gray is better at picking new companies.
erincollopy @scobleizer -Tweet Deck and Kayak for travel. Infraction! Kayak existed before the year started and was very popular. It grew and now is falling in popularity. Go to jail, do not pass go and do not collect $200.
meaganm @Scobleizer I’d say ShareThis! And you’d beat Louis Gray, but do you have nine more in your pocket?
davidhhendricks @Scobleizer tripit I love it to, so you get points for picking the same thing I did.
KellyJohns @Scobleizer Friendfeed is the best, thanks for recommending Robert, Qik too if it would actually work on my Blackberry or iPhone. Qik works on Blackberry now, iPhone if you jailbreak it.
zaphodd Icon_red_lock @Scobleizer Services: Meebo, iTunes App store, Boxee Hey, I didn’t know about Meebo before this year, but they were already popular. I will give you a point because they grew really nicely this year. Boxee? Definitely cool. Not much growth until late in the year, but still pretty flat.
jblock @Scobleizer Yammer and FriendFeed. Yammer won TC50, so they deserve to be on the list. They grew really fast right after that, but have leveled off since then.
OfficeHax @Scobleizer snackr is the hottest service that I started using in 08. Snackr has too few users to be found by compete.com. No “beat Louis Gray” trophie for you.
sweyn @Scobleizer Laconi.ca is my pick for new service. Oh, let’s just put Plurk in there too. Plurk grew nicely. Louis Gray missed that one. Laconi.ca wasn’t even found by compete. The service identi.ca, which is based on Laconi.ca grew, fell, and now is flatlined. So, Plurk beats it. You’re no Louis Gray!
JimmySky @Scobleizer: Digsby, Evernote. Evernote has already been covered. Digsby grew quite well all year, except for last two months where it went up like crazy and then fell back down. Did Oprah talk about it? Anyway, you beat Louis Gray, so congrats!
teleken @Scobleizer Twitter, FriendFeed, last.fm. Twitter? That started in 2006. So, infraction! Last.fm? Same thing. Although both grew nicely so at least your heart is in right place.
JonathanDeamer @Scobleizer Hottest new service that I wasn’t using in 2007? Spotify. Best music app I’ve ever used, no question. You seen it? I haven’t seen it, invite-only at this point so compete.com doesn’t have any data for it. Gotta check it out!
thatJENgirl @Scobleizer Yahoo Pipes, WidgetBox, Webnode.com. Webnode had pretty flat growth, but better than a few of Louis’ choices, so you win there. WidgetBox? That was popular at the beginning of the year but had nice growth all year long.
dcfemella @Scobleizer FriendFeed, Seesmic, and Twitter. Seesmic saw nice growth this year, except last few months.
GR8CDNPumpkin @Scobleizer Brightkite, Pixelpipe, Friendfeed, Social|Median, Strands … that is most of them I think. Brightkite saw great growth. You are better than Louis Gray! Pixelpipe? Not so much.
alyero @scobleizer hottest new service – Planypus (www.planypus.com). Planypus? Um, no. Sorry. Try again.
sadekhm @Scobleizer Friendfeed, Plurk, Dropbox, Tumblr. Tumblr had bigger growth than FriendFeed, which explains why it just closed $4.5 million in funding. A tiny bit unfair because it started out more popular, though, so really was a hot app of 2007.
dave1meyer @Scobleizer – best new tool for me in 2008 was Things for Mac/iPhone. Great GTD app. Hard to judge this one because it’s an iPhone app but compete.com was not impressed.
lirontocker @Scobleizer Dropbox. Nice growth, but a lot slower than FriendFeed. Better than many of Louis’ picks, though.
jakks @Scobleizer Friendfeed. Socialcast. Blip.fm. Um, Socialcast wasn’t even on the chart, so no. Go back to the Louis Gray school of finding new cool services.
lirontocker @Scobleizer Truphone Another iPhone app, so compete.com probably under ranking this.
Eyebee @Scobleizer Hottest new service here: Friendfeed, Disqus, 12seconds.TV. Oh, Disqus is a major growth winner this year. So is 12seconds.tv. You win the “beat Louis Gray” game.

There are lots of other suggestions on this thread on FriendFeed:

FriendFeed, Otherinbox, Dropbox. – Nir Ben Yona Otherinbox grew a bit, definitely more than some of the stuff Louis recommended, but was pretty flat so won’t get VC’s interested. Dropbox very flat.
FriendFeed – Kenton
I will have to say friendfeed too :o) and ning. :o) – Rob Sellen Ning was popular going into the year, but look at the growth all year long! Makes FriendFeed’s growth look tiny.
FriendFeed, Yammer – Uwe Schwarz
definitely getdrpbox.com and drop.io – Milos Radovic Drop.io had an OK year, doubling traffic, which was better than many of Louis’s picks, but it started out the year with 50k users, so isn’t quite a new service this year.
FriendFeed – Stupid Blogger (aka Tina)
FF, Evernote, GoogleApps, Pandora – Rob Michael
Friendfeed… – Bob Blunk
Mint.com, Remember the Milk, FF – Mark Philpot Mint.com won TC50 in 2007, so doesn’t apply here. It had a lot of growth this year, though. Remember the Milk also started out with 50k users this year, but more than doubled them.
Friendfeed, but in terms of everyday day-to-day usage than ‘iPhone apps’ are far more frequent than Friendfeed (though that probably doesn’t count). – Andrew Leyden
Mark Philpot beat me to RTM — it is really good. – Robert W. Anderson via twhirl
FriendFeed certainly. Qik on iPhone for sure. Digsby has redefined my email/IM/social networking, nothing else beats it. – Nathan Chase
Friendfeed., Lightroom 2.0. – Thomas Hawk
tripit is my favorite as well as Twitter. used twitter back in ’07 but didn’t have a need until I lost my job at Yahoo! in Feb. ’08 – Randy Ksar via twhirl
FriendFeed & Twitter – Atul Arora
Friendfeed, Plurk, Dropbox, Tumblr – Hisham
twitter, friend feed, social median – dan
Friend Feed, Pandora – Victoria/Plautia
AOL j/k… Windows Live has some interesting components. And FriendFeed. – Mark VandenBerg
Netflix on demand, FriendFeed – Brian Roy
FriendFeed Qik Evernote BrightKite – Enrique Gutierrez via twhirl
Friendfeed; Doppler; Blip.FM; Dropbox – Jorge Gobbi via twhirl
Friendfeed. – Katie
Twitter, Qik and shamefully; WordPress – Mauricio Reyes
FriendFeed, Dopplr, Plazes – flapic Plazes didn’t do anything. Dopplr didn’t either. No Louis Gray award for you.
Everything (except for YouTube, Flickr, SU and Digg…the “old” stuff). I went from Blogger to WP in January, had special words for people who used Twitter. – Anika Malone
Liking even though I was already using FF in 2007 and still my fave in 2008 :)Mark Krynsky
Friendfeed. Socialcast. Blip.fm – Jaica Kinsman
FriendFeed, Seesmic, and Twitter – Shevonne Polastre
ping.fm blip.fm dropbox – Mike G
Friendfeed, evernote, twitter – seanb via twhirl
Diigo too. – Jaica Kinsman Diigo saw nice growth this year.
Well, thanks everyone for helping us find the best services of 2008. Based on the results here’s my final list of sites that had fewer than 100,000 users at the beginning of the year and have seen sizeable growth this year:

1. FriendFeed.
2. ShareThis.
3. Brightkite.
4. TweetDeck.
5. Disqus.
6. 12seconds.tv.
7. Qik.
8. Evernote.
9. TripIt.
10. Digsby.
11. Plurk.

So, who has a better list? Me (and a bunch of people on Twitter and FriendFeed) or Louis Gray? To be fair, Louis explained why he thought FriendFeed shouldn’t be used this year, so probably that same reason would keep some other of my favorite newish companies from being considered.

Either way, I learned a lot about what companies have caught people’s attention and it’s interesting to compare growth curves among companies.

Some fun distractions while I put this list together? Look at these companies growth curves:

They grew four Twitters (if you use the December-sized Twitter).
Twitter. Wow, look at that growth! Plus, growth curve is a lot steeper than FriendFeed.
Ning. Growing faster than Twitter.

Anyway, my hat is off to all entrepreneurs that have seen a ton of growth this year. Hope 2009 brings you even more. Did we miss anyone? Leave a comment with a link.

Comments

  1. I saw that Tumblr was mentioned on here. Personally for me, Tumblr started out strong. I used it everyday but then after a couple of months I got tired of it and how limited it was. Now, its just used as a dump for various things I post around the internet. And all that is done automatically, so I rarely ever visit Tumblr.

  2. I saw that Tumblr was mentioned on here. Personally for me, Tumblr started out strong. I used it everyday but then after a couple of months I got tired of it and how limited it was. Now, its just used as a dump for various things I post around the internet. And all that is done automatically, so I rarely ever visit Tumblr.

  3. Great list and interactive response. I love Disqus and FriendFeed as much as you, but I was restricted by the 2008 debut. I also for the most part wasn’t consulting growth as much as personal preference. I know I missed some and your readers have great suggestions.

    Did you link to the original article?

  4. Great list and interactive response. I love Disqus and FriendFeed as much as you, but I was restricted by the 2008 debut. I also for the most part wasn’t consulting growth as much as personal preference. I know I missed some and your readers have great suggestions.

    Did you link to the original article?

  5. Robert: In a recession, survival is #1, not growth. Calacanis was dead right when saying that the most creative thing a startup can do in 2009 is surviving.

    So, growth is nice, of course, but not sufficient for survival. See the banking system. It sure grew like hell, but all that growth wasn’t sustainable. The same happens to a startup that grows in users, but not in income.

    For survival, generating enough income and a having a sufficiently high liquidity are mandatory. Growth isn’t. There are companies generating more revenue with some dozen valuable accounts than certain startups with hundered thousands of users that don’t yield a penny.

    See Facebook: They grow, but still have no clue how to monetize (and whether users would appreciate being milked). So far, they’re not even able to earn enough to have something left after bills were paid.

    In my view, Facebook is one big fail story. The masses just have not realized it yet. Potential buyers will realise it soon and certainly not buy before there’s evidence of a profitable business for Facebook. Same goes for Twitter or Friendfeed or 97% of all startups that follow the Freemium business model.

  6. Robert: In a recession, survival is #1, not growth. Calacanis was dead right when saying that the most creative thing a startup can do in 2009 is surviving.

    So, growth is nice, of course, but not sufficient for survival. See the banking system. It sure grew like hell, but all that growth wasn’t sustainable. The same happens to a startup that grows in users, but not in income.

    For survival, generating enough income and a having a sufficiently high liquidity are mandatory. Growth isn’t. There are companies generating more revenue with some dozen valuable accounts than certain startups with hundered thousands of users that don’t yield a penny.

    See Facebook: They grow, but still have no clue how to monetize (and whether users would appreciate being milked). So far, they’re not even able to earn enough to have something left after bills were paid.

    In my view, Facebook is one big fail story. The masses just have not realized it yet. Potential buyers will realise it soon and certainly not buy before there’s evidence of a profitable business for Facebook. Same goes for Twitter or Friendfeed or 97% of all startups that follow the Freemium business model.

  7. adjix.com which has just started out is growing quickly
    kirtsy.com is still growing (albeit it dipped in july – it’s on the rebound)
    alltop.com slowed down but still growing (seriously – you invoke guy kawasaki and leave alltop off the list?)
    twine.com seems to have gone off the charts in the past couple of months, but it technically was around before this year
    soup.io similar situation to twine.com – suspect the impending demise of pownce is responsible for that.

    All in all tho, I like both your list & Louis’s – but I’m still not a friendfeed fanatic.

  8. adjix.com which has just started out is growing quickly
    kirtsy.com is still growing (albeit it dipped in july – it’s on the rebound)
    alltop.com slowed down but still growing (seriously – you invoke guy kawasaki and leave alltop off the list?)
    twine.com seems to have gone off the charts in the past couple of months, but it technically was around before this year
    soup.io similar situation to twine.com – suspect the impending demise of pownce is responsible for that.

    All in all tho, I like both your list & Louis’s – but I’m still not a friendfeed fanatic.

  9. Surprised that no one mentioned Mixx and Zoho. Compare Mixx with Friendfeed. Zoho isn’t as impressive, but got a ton of coverage this year and has done fairly better.

    As per my favorites: Nothing much new except Friendfeed this year. Just hopped onto Zenbe and liking it till now. Also, used SocialBrowse for quite sometime but it’s usage dipped when I switched to Google Chrome.

  10. Surprised that no one mentioned Mixx and Zoho. Compare Mixx with Friendfeed. Zoho isn’t as impressive, but got a ton of coverage this year and has done fairly better.

    As per my favorites: Nothing much new except Friendfeed this year. Just hopped onto Zenbe and liking it till now. Also, used SocialBrowse for quite sometime but it’s usage dipped when I switched to Google Chrome.

  11. And yeah I need to include Disqus among my new favorites. Especially after they implemented syncing comments and moving comments out of their system.

  12. And yeah I need to include Disqus among my new favorites. Especially after they implemented syncing comments and moving comments out of their system.

  13. Glad ShareThis rocked the the top of the list. They’re making some updates too so I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  14. Glad ShareThis rocked the the top of the list. They’re making some updates too so I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  15. Hi Robert,

    I would like to add a couple of things regarding feedly:

    1) Our current focus is not absolute growth but how many of the people who get to try feedly keep using it daily and tell their friends about it on Twitter. On those metrics we have been making steady progress *every week* since we opened feedly to the public in June. see [1].

    2) Technically, feedly is designed so the mash-up of the data it is aggregating is happening in real-time in the browser. So the traffic you are pointing to does NOT reflect feedly usage but simply people who visit the feedly corporate website.

    It has been an interesting problem to try to solve. We are not there yet but I believe that if we continue to listen to users[2] and make progress every week, 2009 will be an interesting year for feedly.

    [1] http://search.twitter.com/search?q=feedly
    [2] http://www.getsatisfaction.com/feedly

  16. Hi Robert,

    I would like to add a couple of things regarding feedly:

    1) Our current focus is not absolute growth but how many of the people who get to try feedly keep using it daily and tell their friends about it on Twitter. On those metrics we have been making steady progress *every week* since we opened feedly to the public in June. see [1].

    2) Technically, feedly is designed so the mash-up of the data it is aggregating is happening in real-time in the browser. So the traffic you are pointing to does NOT reflect feedly usage but simply people who visit the feedly corporate website.

    It has been an interesting problem to try to solve. We are not there yet but I believe that if we continue to listen to users[2] and make progress every week, 2009 will be an interesting year for feedly.

    [1] http://search.twitter.com/search?q=feedly
    [2] http://www.getsatisfaction.com/feedly

  17. Qik is my favorite but think they a) need to get into the App Store and b) give users the ability to embed live video on a site and allow viewers to send questions directly from the site without having to go to the video at qik.com.

  18. Qik is my favorite but think they a) need to get into the App Store and b) give users the ability to embed live video on a site and allow viewers to send questions directly from the site without having to go to the video at qik.com.

  19. Nice post!

    A couple of notes on Gnip, first, the web site URL you are using on Compete.com is incorrect (as Louis points out as well). Our web site URL is http://www.gnipcentral.com which is probably why you are seeing a flat line in web site traffic.

    Second, our product offering is not a web-based destination, it is an API based service that facilitates data portability so that developers can create applications on any platform they choose. I’m not even sure using a comparator like compete.com is appropriate for us in this case.

    What you are likely going to see are services that you know and love using Gnip under the covers, whether that fact is transparent or not, it will certainly make measuring our popularity under these standards a bit more difficult. I’m pretty excited about what we’ve got going on, and even more excited about some of the ways developers are using our service to create feature-rich applications.

    Cheers!

  20. Nice post!

    A couple of notes on Gnip, first, the web site URL you are using on Compete.com is incorrect (as Louis points out as well). Our web site URL is http://www.gnipcentral.com which is probably why you are seeing a flat line in web site traffic.

    Second, our product offering is not a web-based destination, it is an API based service that facilitates data portability so that developers can create applications on any platform they choose. I’m not even sure using a comparator like compete.com is appropriate for us in this case.

    What you are likely going to see are services that you know and love using Gnip under the covers, whether that fact is transparent or not, it will certainly make measuring our popularity under these standards a bit more difficult. I’m pretty excited about what we’ve got going on, and even more excited about some of the ways developers are using our service to create feature-rich applications.

    Cheers!

  21. Thanks for the mention, Robert. Good to see a nice bit of variation in what people have mention – all the usual suspects, plus some curve balls. I’m a big fan of Tumblr, and Posterous seem to be getting a lot of traction in the same space. Especially after the former’s new round of funding the other day, this is going to be an especially interesting area to watch in ’09.

  22. Thanks for the mention, Robert. Good to see a nice bit of variation in what people have mention – all the usual suspects, plus some curve balls. I’m a big fan of Tumblr, and Posterous seem to be getting a lot of traction in the same space. Especially after the former’s new round of funding the other day, this is going to be an especially interesting area to watch in ’09.

  23. Robert — thanks for writing about us. As Louis pointed out, we’re at Gnipcentral.com, not gnip.com so please update your link if you get a chance.

    Please keep in mind, we’re not a consumer service. We don’t help you keep track of your posts, or other people’s posts or enable you to post elsewhere. We package and deliver data from services like Digg, Delicious, Twitter and Six Apart to services like Plaxo, MyBlogLog, Strands and EventVue. Our work is behind the scenes and as a result just looking at our traffic isn’t the best way to take our pulse.

    Have a happy holiday and let’s all hope 2009 is better than 2008.

    Cheers!
    Eric

  24. Robert — thanks for writing about us. As Louis pointed out, we’re at Gnipcentral.com, not gnip.com so please update your link if you get a chance.

    Please keep in mind, we’re not a consumer service. We don’t help you keep track of your posts, or other people’s posts or enable you to post elsewhere. We package and deliver data from services like Digg, Delicious, Twitter and Six Apart to services like Plaxo, MyBlogLog, Strands and EventVue. Our work is behind the scenes and as a result just looking at our traffic isn’t the best way to take our pulse.

    Have a happy holiday and let’s all hope 2009 is better than 2008.

    Cheers!
    Eric

  25. Friend Feed is for sure one of the most important names in 2008

    Feedly is also a good one because of their product and good interface, although the growth was not so powerful.

  26. Friend Feed is for sure one of the most important names in 2008

    Feedly is also a good one because of their product and good interface, although the growth was not so powerful.

  27. “I asked Twitter for what services they liked the best that were new.”

    And then in your analysis, you say absolutely nothing about which services are “the best” or even (with the exception of FriendFeed) you like… No, you just constantly harp on, Did they grow quickly?

    Those are two entirely different questions. So much so, it’s almost a bait and switch.

    The post could probably have made sense if you’d gone on to say, “Look at all these services that people like and admire — and aren’t growing. Shows yet again how quality isn’t the main driver in this business!” But, no, there’s not even that much self-awareness.

    There’s all this comparison to Louis Gray when there’s no indication the respondents know or care who Louis Gray is, and — again — has nothing to do with the question as asked.

    I’m not saying there may be interest in the points you raise. But the way you’ve presented them, it’s almost like you lose interest in the answer to any given question before you even finish asking it and then move on, when the people who answered the question you asked in the first place have no idea you’re already bored with the question they answered — and you’re now using their answers in a context they had no way of knowing would exist by the time you posted them.

  28. “I asked Twitter for what services they liked the best that were new.”

    And then in your analysis, you say absolutely nothing about which services are “the best” or even (with the exception of FriendFeed) you like… No, you just constantly harp on, Did they grow quickly?

    Those are two entirely different questions. So much so, it’s almost a bait and switch.

    The post could probably have made sense if you’d gone on to say, “Look at all these services that people like and admire — and aren’t growing. Shows yet again how quality isn’t the main driver in this business!” But, no, there’s not even that much self-awareness.

    There’s all this comparison to Louis Gray when there’s no indication the respondents know or care who Louis Gray is, and — again — has nothing to do with the question as asked.

    I’m not saying there may be interest in the points you raise. But the way you’ve presented them, it’s almost like you lose interest in the answer to any given question before you even finish asking it and then move on, when the people who answered the question you asked in the first place have no idea you’re already bored with the question they answered — and you’re now using their answers in a context they had no way of knowing would exist by the time you posted them.

  29. Hal:

    good points. Of those on the list, the ones I like and use often are here:

    1. FriendFeed.
    4. TweetDeck.
    5. Disqus.
    7. Qik.
    8. Evernote.
    9. TripIt.

    So, six out of 11. But I think the other four are good, too, and will start using them. One thing I’ve learned about watching crowds of early adopters. They usually are right.

  30. Hal:

    good points. Of those on the list, the ones I like and use often are here:

    1. FriendFeed.
    4. TweetDeck.
    5. Disqus.
    7. Qik.
    8. Evernote.
    9. TripIt.

    So, six out of 11. But I think the other four are good, too, and will start using them. One thing I’ve learned about watching crowds of early adopters. They usually are right.

  31. I see Louis Gray has posted a list of his 10 top new web services for 2008. I thought the list was missing a few of the best new services. So, I did two comparisons:I asked Twitter for what services they liked the best that were new. I compared all of Louis’ top services on Compete.com to my favorite new service, FriendFeed, to see how they measured up in traffic.First, http://www.chase.com let’s compare in Compete. I included TechMeme in the charts as a baseline since that news service continues to be popular.