Digital Hot List 2008


Bringing the Heat

As we all know, it ain’t just about Web sites anymore. These rankings, when we started them four years ago, were known as the AdweekMedia Web Site Hot List. Besides the clunky moniker, it increasingly didn’t reflect the fact that ad-supported digital media had mushroomed far beyond Web pages to encompass search, networks, applications, games, virtual worlds, mobile and other forms. Thus, the Digital Hot List was born.

This year’s top 10 (compiled by Adweek’s Brian Morrissey, Mediaweek’s Mike Shields and myself) certainly reflects the diverse universe of platforms embraced by consumers as well as marketers.

Making its Hot List debut at the very top is, of course, Google. Accounting for more than one-quarter of the total online ad market in the U.S.—and with such important developments as the acquisition of DoubleClick and the launch of Web browser Chrome—it’s a sure bet Google will continue to shape the future of digital media, for all players. Others making their first appearance here include such powerhouses as Apple’s iPhone, Hulu and Xbox Live; returning from last year are Facebook, YouTube and Imeem.

When the list was comprised only of Web sites, we singled out those with the most impressive growth year over year in closely watched metrics like unique audience, time spent and pages viewed per user. For the sites making this year’s rankings, we used the same methodology, relying on data from a range of sources, including Nielsen Online (which, like AdweekMedia, is part of The Nielsen Co.), comScore and others. For sites and nonsites alike, we considered additional factors, including influence on the world of digital media, as well as the culture at large; ad innovation and results; and the informed judgment of our best contacts in the ad business.

—Tony Case, Editor, Special Reports (

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