8 New Web-Based Business Models We Love

What’s the smartest web-based business idea you saw for the first time in 2012?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

new web business
photo credit: Pete foley via photopin cc

1. Sending Text Messages Instead of Email

Nathalie LussierI’ve been a fan of email marketing for a long time, and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. But this past year I saw marketers and smart business owners start collecting cell phone numbers and texting people instead of emailing them. Especially effective before a live webinar or call, too!

Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool

2. Gumroad for Digital Content Sales

Ben LangGumroad is unbelievably simple and brilliant at the same time. It enables you to easily sell digital content to any audience. So instead of selling your song through iTunes you can sell it through a link on Gumroad in just a few minutes.

Ben Lang, EpicLaunch

3. Integration of Browsing and Social Media

Andrew SchrageI just recently noticed Rockmelt, which is essentially a free web browser focused on social media. When you sign up, you get a sidebar that connect to Facebook that allows you to update your Facebook page and view notifications. It integrates Twitter as well.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. Community-Generated Content Businesses

Cody McKibbenOne of the most genius, jealousy-inducing businesses I’ve seen this year is when authorities create community sites using white label software like Ning, bring together the brightest and best minds in their niche, and empower the community to create ever-expanding amounts of exclusive content””hidden away from Google’s eyes””then charging a subscription for new members who want to join.

Cody McKibben, ThrillingHeroics.com

5. Birchbox and Other Curated Boxes

Thursday-Bram 2Curated packages mailed to users willing to pay for samples of new products has rapidly become a trend this year. I find the entire concept of the business model fascinating: it’s like getting a quick gift from that always-in-the-know friend every month.

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

6. Enterproid’s “Dual-Persona” Technology

Derek FlanzraichEnterproid’s technology basically splits one mobile phone into two “personas,” allowing you to seamlessly manage and work with personal and corporate data.

Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

7. Buffer App’s “Automagic”

Mitch GordonBuffer is super handy. It’s basically an easier way to share social media. It’s essentially a button that appears anywhere you see social share buttons. You essentially queue things you want to share and Buffer “automagically” posts the content for you throughout the day. I use it for tweets/Facebook every day.

Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas

8. Simplifed App Development

John HallRarewire is a web-based business that helps make developing mobile apps easy for anybody.

John Hall, Digital Talent Agents