What Was Hot in 2011’s Digital Brands? Definitely Not ‘Surprise’

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Brian Snyder / REUTERS

Looking at Adweek’s 2011 Hot List for digital brands, it appears that 2011 was a bit of a non-starter when it came to… well, anything surprising whatsoever. Not that we’re complaining: Our print magazine won coveted spots in the Magazines Hot List and Readers’ Choice poll.

On the digital side, each of Adweek’s 11 categories (Social Media Site, Search Site, Gaming Company, Mobile, App, Startup, Lifestyle Website, Sports Website, News Website, Entertainment News Website and Streaming Media) were won by very familiar names, with the only newcomer being Spotify, which took both Streaming Media and Startup: “Of all the streaming music services that have sprung up in recent years, perhaps none has posed so serious a threat to iTunes’ hegemony as Spotify,” the site explained.

The Adweek Hot List combines measurable data, including sales and audience metrics (as well as Klout scores, interestingly enough), with the results of a Readers’ Choice poll that included a staggering 182,000 votes. The only places where the readers differed from the overall results were in the choice of top streaming media (Spotify was overtaken by YouTube in readers’ hearts) and top app; while Adweek’s choice was Angry Birds, readers preferred Words with Friends, which says something either about the continuing allure of Scrabble even in alternate, non-IP-threatening forms, or about people’s unwillingness to admit that they, too, are addicted to wiping the smirks off those green pigs’ faces months after the game has left the zeitgeist.

(MORE: Who’s Top of the Google+ Charts? Britney, of Course)

The full list of Adweek’s Hottest Digital Brands is:

Social Media Site: Facebook
Search Site: Google
Gaming Company: Zynga
Mobile: Apple
App: Angry Birds
Startup: Spotify
Lifestyle Website: Tumblr
Sports Website: ESPN
News Website: Huffington Post
Entertainment News Website: TMZ
Streaming Media: Spotify

MORE: What the 40 Most Shared Links on Facebook in 2011 Say About Facebook in 2011

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.