The Crunchies

Time is quickly running out on voting for “The Crunchies, ” a new technology award sponsored by A-list blogs GigaOm, Read/WriteWeb, VentureBeat and TechCrunch. It is this group’s first attempt to “recognize and celebrate the most compelling startups, internet and technology innovations of the year.”

Crunchies 2007 vote
There are no mulligans in Crunchies voting.

Based on nominations submitted by the Internet community, the awards committee chose five finalists for each of the Committee will choose five finalist companies last month for each of the twenty award categories, based on the nominations submitted by the community. At the moment, just under 108,000 ballots have been cast. Voting ends tonight at midnight PACIFIC.

My votes below have been greatly informed by (a) regularly following blogs big and small for the past 8 months or so through Google Reader, and (b) jumping into new communities as a beta tester or early adopter. In some cases, these tools proved valuable enough to incorporate into my daily and weekly routines. Others? … not so much.

The Crunchies voting site is fairly straightforward, providing a short list of candidates with links to each home site for more investigation. Unfortunately, I had the equivalent of a hanging chad in my vote for Best Overall. I selected “Twitter” but wound up with Zillow, a real estate site of which I had never heard. Unfortunately for all of the recount scenarios, there is no way for me to correct that. Twitter faces stiff competition from Facebook, the former student social network that made a splash with an open application platform in 2007. Doh.

The toughest category for me, by far, was the one for “Best new gadget / device.” It featured five strong entrants in the iPhone (Apple’s revolutionary phone), Kindle (Amazon’s e-book), Ooma (an internet phone), Pleo (an affordable robot pet), and the Wii. If the Pleo had a longer interactive play time—my initial tests showed only 90-minutes of steady play, with no way to automatically recharge or buy backup batteries—it would have trumped my eventual choice—the Wii—based mostly on its potential for community around these little robot dinosaurs. The Wii technically could be considered a 2006 gadget, but we didn’t get ours until last Christmas.

  • Best technology innovation / achievement—Recognition for best new technology achievement or breakthrough
    Nominees: Earthmine, Like, Move Networks, Twine, Viewdle
  • Best bootstrapped start-up—For a company that has raised less than $100.000 from individuals, angels or others
    Nominees: FriendFeed, PoliticalBase, ProductWiki, Techmeme, UpNext
  • Best new gadget / device—For the best new Internet-accessible electronics device launched in 2007
    Nominees: iPhone, Kindle, Ooma, Pleo, Wii
  • Best business model—For a company that’s pioneering new revenue-creation opportunities
    Nominees: Glam Media, Imeem, Prosper, Weatherbill, Zazzle
    NOTE: I don’t know enough about any of these, or business, to make an informed vote.
  • Best design—Recognition for best user-interface design
    Nominees: Etsy, Jackson Fish Market, Netvibes, SmugMug, Songza
  • Best enterprise start-up—For a start-up focused on enterprise or business-to-business applications and services
    Nominees: 37Signals, Attributor, EditGrid, Ribbit, Zoho
  • Best consumer start-up—For a start-up focused on consumer-facing applications and services
    Nominees: 1800-FREE-411, 23andMe, LinkedIn, Meebo, Zillow
  • Best mobile start-up—For companies who provide mobile content or mobile distribution platforms
    Nominees: AdMob, Fring, Loopt, Shozu, Twitter
  • Best international start-up—To recognize start-up achievement outside the United States (company must be founded, headquartered and operated primarily outside the US)
    Nominees: Atlassian, Gizmoz, MusicShake, Netvibes, Openads
  • Best user-generated content site—For sites who rely on content created primarily from users
    Nominees: Digg, Facebook, Geni, Instructables, Yelp
  • Best video site—For sites who distribute video and/or other rich-media content
    Nominees: Aniboom, Hulu, Joost,, Tokbox
  • Best clean tech start-up—For companies focused on environmentally conscious technology applications
    Nominees: A123Systems, Ausra, GridPoint, NanoSolar, Tesla Motors
  • Best use of viral marketing—For the company that has demonstrated the best use of viral marketing techniques to drive distribution
    Nominees: Flixster, iLike, iminlikewithyou, RockYou, StumbleUpon
  • Best time sink site—Favorite site to use when you’re not working or not wanting to think about work
    Nominees: College Humor, Duels, Kdice, Kongregate, Pandora
  • Most likely to make the world a better place—To recognize a site that is making an important social impact in the world. Site does not need to be a non-profit to qualify.
    Nominees: Causes, DonorsChoose, ZeroFootprint, Kiva, One Laptop Per Child
  • Most likely to succeed—Site most likely to meet with future financial success (may be defined as revenue creation, a big exit, or other future accomplishment)
    Nominees: Kayak, Mint, Slide, WordPress, Zivity
  • Best start-up founder—Award to recognize an exemplary start-up business founder
    Nominees: Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Max Levchin (Slide), Kevin Rose (Digg), Evan Williams (Twitter), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
  • Best start-up CEO—Award to recognize an exemplary start-up business CEO
    Nominees: Gina Bianchini (Ning), Dick Costolo (Feedburner), Toni Schneider (WordPress), Rob Solomon (Sidestep), Lance Tokuda (RockYou)
  • Best new start-up of 2007—Company must have been founded in 2007
    Nominees: Hulu, iMedix, Joost, Ribbit, Tumblr
  • Best overall—For the best overall site or product of 2007
    Nominees: Digg, Facebook, GrandCentral, Twitter, Zillow

The Crunchies Awards Ceremony will take place in a week, on Friday, January 18 at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. A limited number of tickets to the 900-seat old world theater are being released here to the general public over the next two weeks.

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