International brand rankings: YouTube and Wikipedia in top five

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(LIP-wb) — The annual survey of most influential international brand names conducted by Internet magazine brandchannel.com usually offers controversial results like in 2004, when the Arab TV channel "Al Jazeera" made the rankings for the first time.

This year, more than 3,6oo people from 99 countries voted in the online poll in November and December 2006. And the results were quite surprising again.

When answering the question “Which brands had the greatest impact on our lives in 2006?”, online search giant Google was number one, followed by computer manufacturer Apple, online video exchange YouTube, the Wikipedia encyclopedia, and coffee empire Starbucks.

The analysis of the survey explains that Google "hogged technology headlines and spread its ubiquity (which is a nice way of saying "world dominance") throughout 2006. The dust barely cleared on its US$ 900 million deal with News Corporation to provide service to sites such as MySpace when it purchased video site and workplace time-waster (as well as third-place finisher) YouTube for $1.65 billion. But perhaps its most noteworthy brand achievement last year was the addition of the verb "to google" in two major English-language dictionaries."

Google exchanged ranks with last year’s winner Apple Inc. But the actual surprise was the appearance of YouTube snd Wikipedia coming in in third and fourth place, respectively.

The impressive appearance of these newcomers is a sign of a greater tendency – an increasing influence of interactive brands based on contents generated by online users”, said publisher Anthony Zumpano in a press note.

In a virtual tie for fifth place are perennial favorites Starbucks and Nokia, proving caffeine and cellphones haven’t gone out of style.

Votes were cast for up to five brands per region; respondents could only vote once per region. The survey did not consider the economic value of brand names where Coca-Cola usually tops the charts on a regular basis.

Another new brand that made the rankings were the aforementioned social website MySpace, placing 15th on the North America. Al Jazeera advanced to 19th place in the global rankings after adding a new English broadcast, recovering from its fall to 25th place in 2005.

The first five of the European list were occupied by domestic companies. Swedish furniture giant Ikea topped Internet phone service Skype, Nokia, Zara (clothing) and adidas (sports apparel).

The list of Latin America is more refreshing: Mexican beer giant Corona is on top, followed by Bacardi (rum), Movistar (mobile phones), Havaianas (flip flops), and Bimbo, the third largest bread producer in the world.

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