Innovators vie for new Crunchies awards

January 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
With all the Web sites and blogs out there, it's hard to zero in on the best, but that's just what the organizers of The Crunchies awards tried to do Friday night in San Francisco. It's a new awards show for the newest innovations.

Digg is a content aggregating Web site. Think of it as a real-time Internet focus group where users vote for the best content. The most popular items get posted on Digg's front page.

San Francisco-based Digg has 43 employees, and many people have never heard of it. However, with 24 million unique users a month, the Potrero Hill business has more readers than the New York Times.

Digg is one of 20 companies vying for a Crunchies award. The awards honor the best blogs, the best start-ups and the best new gadgets.

Crunchies winners hope they'll get more attention, more credit for their start-ups, and some hope it'll be easier to get venture capital.

However, in an industry where many businesses have the shelf life of a melting ice cube, competition is rugged. Some were no match for behemoths like Apple which won for best gadget.

Jobs didn't show. Even the Jobs impersonator dissed the notion he'd be on the stage with a Crunchie.

Eighty-thousand votes were cast for the 2,000 companies vying for the first-ever Crunchies. The consensus on the next big thing -- mobile.

Michael Arrington, Tech Crunch Co-founder: "It makes the mobile phone probably the single most important device in your life. If it isn't already, it will be in a few years. Something you just can't be without at any time."

Noel Cisneros: "So can you get me one that actually makes a phone call?"

Michael Arrington: "The iPhone does, but you know the days of a phone just doing phone calls are over."

In the end, it wasn't just about who could make the most money or be the next Facebook. They also gave an award to, the company most likely to make the world a better place.

LINK: Complete list of Crunchies winners

LINK: The Crunchies 2007