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I’ve had an idea for this kind of a list for months now, but I guess I’ve been waiting until we have clear, agreed, and well-defined players rather than something we insiders consider successful but is really unknown to the rest of the world.

The list was narrowed down from a selection of 20 startups, and the criteria were as simple as (a) they had to be a new startup — Valley-based or not, but most are anyway, and (b) they had to be looked at as a Web 2.0 company (i.e. no eBay or Yahoo! or Craigslist), which I think we’ll all agree on. I’ve tried to diversify the list with startups doing all kinds of things, and while this is a list of the ‘most successful,’ please note that the startups in here are in no way the ‘best.’ They’re simply used by the most people, have happy investors behind them, and are looking toward a bright future.

(1) MySpaceMySpace

Launched: July 2003
Founded by: Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe
Type: Social Network
Targeted Audience: 16 – 24 (teens, young adults)
Approximate Users: 150 million (100 million as of August 2006; growing at around 200,000 registrations per day)
Approximate Pageviews: 40 billion per month (as of March 2007)
Acquisition/Valuation: Bought by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Interactive Media in July 2005 for $580 million

(2) YouTubeYouTube

Launched: February 2005
Founded by: Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim
Type: Video Sharing
Targeted Audience: 16 – 40 (teens, adults)
Approximate Users: Unknown
Approximate Pageviews: 4 billion per month (as of July 2006, serving 100 million videos per day)
Acquisition/Valuation: Bought by Google in October 2006 for $1.6 billion

(3) FacebookFacebook

Launched: February 2004
Founded by: Mark Zuckerberg
Type: Social Network
Targeted Audience: 20 – 25 (college students), this is changing since they have opened up
Approximate Users: 18 million (as of February 2007)
Approximate Pageviews: 22 billion per month (as of December 2006)
Acquisition/Valuation: Rejected $1 billion offer from Yahoo! in September 2006, asking for $2 billion

(4) WikipediaWikipedia

Launched: January 2001
Founded by: Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger
Type: Wiki-based Encyclopedia
Targeted Audience: 10 – 80 (general)
Approximate Users: 50,000 active users (as of January 2006)
Approximate Pageviews: 6 billion per month (as of February 2007)
Acquisition/Valuation: Non-profit, has raised over $3 million in donations

(5) BeboBebo

Launched: January 2005
Founded by: Michael Birch and Xochi Birch
Type: Social Network
Targeted Audience: 16 – 24 (teens, young adults)
Approximate Users: 24 million (as of May 2006)
Approximate Pageviews: 4 billion per month (as of October 2006)
Acquisition/Valuation: Rejected $500 million offer from British Telecom Group, asking for $1 billion

(6) DiggDigg

Launched: November 2004
Founded by: Kevin Rose
Type: Social Content Bookmarking/Voting
Targeted Audience: 16 – 30 (teens, adults; technology-savvy)
Approximate Users: 1 million
Approximate Pageviews: 118 million per month (as of 2006)
Acquisition/Valuation: Rumored to have been in negotiations with Fox Interactive/Newscorp, asking for $150 million

(7) FlickrFlickr

Launched: February 2004
Founded by: Ludicorp
Type: Photo Sharing
Targeted Audience: 16 – 80 (general)
Approximate Users: 1.5 million (as of November 2005)
Approximate Pageviews: Unknown
Acquisition/Valuation: Bought by Yahoo! in March 2005 for an undisclosed price estimated in the lower tens of millions.

(8) NetvibesNetvibes

Launched: September 2005
Founded by: Tariq Krim
Type: AJAX-based Startpage
Targeted Audience: 20 – 40 (adults; technology-savvy)Has
Approximate Users: 7 million (as of February 2007)
Approximate Pageviews: N/A
Acquisition/Valuation: Has received around $20 million of venture capital to date; no acquisition rumors or link-ups of any kind.

(9) Del.icio.usDel.icio.us

Launched: Late 2003
Founded by: Joshua Schachter
Type: Social Bookmarking
Targeted Audience: 20 – 40 (adults; technology-savvy)
Approximate Users: 1 million (as of September 2006)
Approximate Pageviews: 4 million (peak, as of August 2006)
Acquisition/Valuation: Bought by Yahoo! in December 2005 for estimated $30 – $40 million

(10) MeeboMeebo

Launched: September 2005
Founded by: Sandy Jen, Seth Sternberg, and Elaine Wherry
Type: AJAX-based Instant Messaging
Targeted Audience: 13 – 40 (teens, adults)
Approximate Users: 500,000 users (as of October 2006)
Approximate Pageviews: N/A
Acquisition/Valuation: Has received around $12 million of venture capital to date; no acquisition rumors or linkups.

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