Web 2.0 Madness – Division 1 – Round 1

The “real” tournament starts today, so my silly Web 2.0 one does as well.  I’ll start with the 16 competitors in the first “Company / Website” category.  Comments welcome!

(As noted in comments yesterday, some changes have taken place in the brackets due to companies being found ineligible.)

(1) Google vs (16) icanhascheezburger.com

It’s possible, though unlikely, that favored #1 seed Google might fall early in the tournament.  icanhascheezburger brings laughter to the hearts of many and probably earns a tidy profit for the investors who bought it for 2 million in cash in 2007 (including Pet Holdings CEO Ben Huh, who I now think might have made an excellent #16 seed in my industry personality category).  Unfortunately it really cannot compete with Google’s impressive array of holdings.  Forget everything else in Google’s arsenal, even Youtube would be enough to kill ICHC.  Sorry LOLCats, this one goes to the big boys of search.

(2) Facebook vs (15) last.fm

#2 seed Facebook has over 175 million active users, 10% of which update their status at least once a day (source).  It was started in a dorm room at Harvard.  Last.fm has 21 million active users, and was started at the University of Southampton (source).  Unfortunately, the last.fm folks sold out to CBS, who some people say ruined the site, opening the way for imeem.com to fill this void.  But, honestly, last.fm or imeem.com, neither of these music matching services was going to pull off the monumental upset of Facebook.  Sorry.

(3) Digg vs (14) Vimeo

Vimeo is a video-sharing site owned by the same people who own CollegeHumor.com.  Digg is a massive portal to the digital zeitgeist who can drive enough traffic to bring the mightest site to its knees.  Digg has its troubles, which we’ll talk about in future matchups, but it’s not going to lose to Vimeo.

(4) Twitter vs (13) Technorati

Why is Technorati ranked so low?  Blog authors clamor for technorati rankings and use it to measure their credibility.  Like Digg, it reflects the supposed heat of the moment in the blogosphere.  But I keep hearing that technorati is more about the stats than any real value.  And latest stats show Twitter growing at levels we haven’t seen since we were looking at 90’s stocks (or housing values, hmmm).  If twitter was still struggling with its “Fail Whale” I’d be more apt to downgrade it, but not only is it handling its current load well, it provides a great API which allows anyone to write their own app to use twitter’s backbone without using their website.  And to me, that’s enough to claim a real Web 2.0 victory.

(5) Yahoo! vs (12) Ning

The name Yahoo! brings up vivid imagery of a pre-Google internet, flush with money and infinite possibilities.  It’s supposedy the second-most visited website in the world.  Ning is a site I’d never heard of until last summer, and one I still haven’t logged in to.  But the new car smell has supposedly worn off of Yahoo!, so maybe Ning has a chance for an upset.  Ning lets users create social networks, without having to worry about buying hosting or tinkering with software.  It’s pretty powerful.  But then again, Yahoo! does something similar with its groups.  And Yahoo! has gained some Web 2.0 relevance with the acquisition of flickr and the introduction of services like Yahoo!Pipes.  Again, the favored team wins the game.

(6) LinkedIn vs (11) Friendster

At last we come to a serious upset candidate.  LinkedIn is the social network even your boss’s boss uses, but Friendster is the world’s oldest.  LinkedIn is probably 90% corporate, whereas Friendster pulls in 90% of its traffic from Asia.  Friendster’s new CEO, Richard Kimber, is focusing on strengthening the site’s stranglehold on the Asian market.  On the other hand, LinkedIn has been called the recession-proof social network, and has a reasonable revenue stream.  I turn to GoogleFight to get some perspective on who is talking about the two sites, and the results are stunning – over 30x the search hits on LinkedIn as compared to Friendster.  I’m afraid my US and corporate bias is going to come into play here.  Friendster loses in overtime.

(7) Second Life vs (10) Wordpress

Until recently, I thought Second Life was just another dark seedy corner of the Internet. Turns out, it’s a bit more than that. Lots of companies are operating within the boundaries of the virtual world, even while blocking access to the program through their corporate firewalls.  In addition, due to the odd relationship between Second Life currency and real money, businesses actually operate entirely within the confines of the realm and earn their owners (usually trivial) income.  WordPress on the other hand is a weird beast.  WordPress.com is a free blogging site and probably your best bet for hosting a professional-looking free blog with multiple authors.  WordPress.org is a source distribution for people who want to run blogs on their own sites.  Who wins out?  Given WordPress’s near-ubiquity and the importance of blogging to social media, I have to give it points over the novelty appeal of Second Life.  GoogleFight agrees with me.  So in the first upset of the day, WordPress advances to the next round.

(8) myspace vs (9) Wikipedia

Myspace is without a doubt a social media heavyweight.  Up until recently, they were pulling in more traffic than Facebook, but while Facebook has remained independent Myspace is wholly owned by News Corp.  Wikipedia on the other hand is without a doubt the most popular general research facility on the ‘net, and enables massive collaboration on an unprecedented scale. The success of wikis in general can probably be directly credited to the success of wikipedia.  With myspace trending downwards (as compared to its competitors) and wikipedia remaining strong, I’m going to grant another upset victory.  Myspace may have helped pave the way for the social web, but others have taken the torch and run with it.

So your winners today are:

  • (1) Google
  • (2) Facebook
  • (3) Digg
  • (4) Twitter
  • (5) Yahoo!
  • (6) LinkedIn
  • (10) WordPress (Upset)
  • (9) Wikipedia (Upset)

Stay tuned for the first round of the remaining divisions!