Based on an extensive filter of 25 million Internet users and some 860,000 Web sites, Bill Tancer, the general manager of Hitwise, said Yelp, StumbleUpon, Veoh, WeeWorld, Imeem, and Piczo have the potential to be the next YouTube, Wikipedia, or Flickr.
"These sites are ones that attract a certain kind of user and have the best chance of crossing the chasm between early adopters and the mainstream media," Tancer said during a keynote presentation at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco this week.
Tancer said the six companies are ones that have yet to "pop" or break out into the Web's popular consciousness -- similar to sites like MySpace, Twitter, and Digg, which were relatively unknown a few years ago and now have massive amounts of users.
Hitwise's prediction is the result of an extensive filtering of traffic patterns that show Web 2.0 usage compared with overall Internet traffic has expanded from 2% in its first year to 12.28% as of Monday.
"That's 668% growth in just two years for the top participatory sites in the United States," Tancer said. The report included following mainstream sites like Wikipedia, YouTube, and Flickr.
Using YouTube, Wikipedia, and Flickr as case studies, Tancer tracked the demographics of content consumers and content producers. Based on Hitwise's ages 18 to 34 and 35 to 55 categories, Tancer noted that the younger crowd consumed the majority of content while the older crowd mainly was responsible for uploading photos, videos, or editing Wikipedia entries.
Even more astounding was Tancer's assertion that a small number of user categories -- Money and Brains, Young Digerati, and Bohemian Mix -- was responsible for setting the trends. While Hitwise has loose definitions of the three groups, they make up only a small percentage, sometimes as little as .2%.
"It's not an 80-20 split anymore, however," Tancer noted. "It's more like a 1-9-90 ratio with 1% making the content, 9% trading and sharing the content, and the remaining 90% consuming the content.
And just in case you were wondering what these six companies do:
- Yelp users post recommendations and reviews on everything from restaurants to dentists.
- Visiting StumbleUpon lets you channel-surf Web sites.
- Veoh is a video upload site similar to YouTube.
- WeeWorld lets users create visual identities that they can then use to represent themselves online and on their mobile phones.
- Imeem is a playlist and content sharing site for artists.
- Photo sharing site Piczo touts itself as a safe place for you and your friends.