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And the Webware 100 winners are...

Rafe's rundown of the 100 best Web 2.0 apps there are.

I'm happy to announce the winners of the 2008 Webware 100. These are the 100 top Web apps, 10 each in 10 categories, according to Webware users and the fans of the products that were finalists in the awards.

You can see all the winners in one place, or page through the winners one-by-one in the Webware 100 Navigator.

Over 1.9 million votes were cast for the 300 finalists this year. These finalists were selected (by Webware editors) from a pool of over 5000 qualifying nominees. But the 100 winners were selected by popular vote. These winning 100 products represent the best of the Web, according the people who use it.

Voting overview

As with the 2007 awards, the majority of votes, 88% this year, were cast for winning products. Of the ten categories, the most popular in terms of votes cast was Browsing. However it's worth noting that one of the entries in that category, Maxthon, drove an inordinate amount of votes by putting a vote-driving popup in the software itself. Even after we had the popup removed, though, Maxthon easily garnered a winning number of votes.

If you subtract the initial Maxthon Effect votes from Browsing, by far the most voted-in category was Social, just like last year. And again, Gaia Online got the most votes in the category. However, competition in this space is heating up. Gaia's 136,000 votes, while well ahead of the 91,000 it won last year, represented only 34% of the votes cast in the Social category, compared to 60% last year.

Just slightly more than half of all the votes cast in the Webware 100 went to the top 10 vote-getters. Six of these top 10 are no surprise at all: Facebook, Firefox, Google, iTunes, MySpace, and YouTube. But the other four may not be as familiar to most Webware readers:

    • DeviantArt. A strong online arts community.

    • Friendster. A social network that was big, became small, and may be making a resurgence.

    • Gaia Online. A graphical social networking site for teenagers. As I said, a big winner in last year's Webware 100.

    • Maxthon. It's a browser that's huge in China, not so much here in the US.

The least active voting category was Productivity (64,000 votes), but the winning product with the smallest number of votes was, to my surprise, the useful and popular Zillow, in the Commerce category. It got 1,095 votes. Unlike last year, there were no winners with fewer than 1,000 votes. The average number of votes per winner: 16,675.

Repeats and disappointments

Many of the winners this year were also Webware 100 winners last year, although the tough competition did knock some of last year's winners off the list (thankfully, otherwise the results would be quite boring). Next year we'll do more to give startups and new products a chance to win an award.

I was surprised to see Digg not garner a winning number of votes. Likewise Plaxo and Ning, two strong companies with active social networks.

And personally, I really wanted Blist (review), which is brand new, to win an award, but being great isn't enough to win a popular vote -- you have to be known.

Rafe's Top 10

We kept editorial influence out of the Webware 100 voting, but now that the results are in, I can pick my favorites of the winners. My criteria: Useful, interesting, fun, or some killer combination. And not the same thing that everyone else will pick (Google, Flickr, Facebook, etc.). Here they are:

    • Picasa Web Albums. A pale shadow of Flickr in terms of buzz and community, but solid integration with Google's desktop photo app Picasa makes it a great place to publish photos designed for limited distribution, like friends and family.

    • Meebo. The multi-IM client we've always wanted, now in handy browser format. Also has its own platform, the Meebo API, and powers public chats for several big sites. Worth watching.

    • Miro. An open-source media player and organizer, it very nearly gives iTunes a run for its money, except that it doesn't sell annoying DRM'd content.

    • uStream. The innovative live video streaming company. There are several imitators now, but uStream continues to power several geek (and other) Internet broadcasters.

    • Twitter. The people who laugh at Twitter do not understand it. Pity them.

    • RememberTheMilk. Handles the simple job of keeping your to-do list, but does it better than other similar apps while at the same time offering a ridiculous number of features to improve the experience.

    • FotoFlexer. One of a group of online photo editors (see also, Picnik, not a Webware 100 winner) that is redefining what you can do on the Web.

    • OpenID. The one-signon-for-all-sites standard continues to gain momentum. The OpenID concepts are still too foreign for most consumers to get, but the sites supporting OpenID keep making it simpler. Could easily become the Web-wide universal login within two years.

    • Etsy. A beautiful marketplace for handcrafted goods. Bonus: It's also a great place to find craftspeople who will make just what you want them to make.

    • And finally, my guily pleasure: Woot. This is the Home Shopping Network for geeks. Addicting, clever, and occasionally it even has good deals.

What do you think?

Each of the Webware 100 winner pages has an open comment thread. We're using Disqus, our favorite comment system, to run this. Unlike posts on the rest of, you don't have to register to leave your feedback on the Webware 100 winner pages. So go wild.