Slideshow

In Pictures: The Most Important People on the Web

Here are the faces of 15 of the top Web influencers.

  • 14. Shana Fisher, Senior Vice President for Strategy and M&A, IAC/InterActiveCorp
    IAC/InterActiveCorp chairman and CEO Barry Diller loves his online enterprises. IAC has purchased Ask.com, Expedia, and a host of other Web businesses. But who tells Diller where to plunk down the cash? His mergers and acquisitions advisor, senior VP Shana Fisher, determines exactly where and when IAC should invest. Her control over IAC's purse strings makes her arguably the most powerful woman on the Internet.
  • 12. Brad Templeton, Chairman of the board, Electronic Frontier Foundation
    If you've ever found yourself on the wrong side of an electronic copyright or privacy scuffle, you know that Brad Templeton and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are your friends. Currently they're fighting to unmuzzle bloggers who published leaked documents related to Eli Lilly's alleged misrepresentation of side effects of the drug Zyprexa.
  • 7. Craig Newmark, Founder, Craigslist
    His site has no ads, charges absurdly low fees to a small fraction of its visitors, has a ".org" domain, and employs 23 people. Yet Craigslist has become an addiction for millions, who impulsively refresh the listings of free stuff, "rants & raves," and personal ads while shirking their day jobs. Most importantly, it has almost singlehandedly demolished the offline classified advertising business.
  • 3. Bram Cohen, Co-founder, BitTorrent
    BitTorrent, developed in 2001, has gained in popularity as a way to download large files (like movies) by sharing the burden across hardware and bandwidth. Reportedly, more than a third of all Web traffic now comes from BitTorrent clients. BitTorrent and the entertainment heavyweights have since joined forces. The newly released BitTorrent Entertainment Network launched recently with thousands of industry-approved movies, television shows, games, and songs for sale and rental.
  • 15. Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, Founders, Skype and KaZaA
    These two just can't stop themselves. First they built the peer-to-peer file-sharing network KaZaA; then they followed that endeavor up by building the amazingly popular VoIP software Skype. After selling Skype, the duo has gone back to the drawing board to produce Joost, a P2P video distribution service that is currently in beta form. Will Zennstrom and Friis pull off a trifecta of killer apps?
  • 11. Kevin J. Martin, Chairman, US Federal Communications Commission
    Martin is arguably the most powerful bureaucrat on the Web. He took over the reins of the US FCC in 2005, and to date he has encountered minimal controversy and none of the scandals that predecessor Michael Powell suffered. But that doesn't mean if you live in the US he couldn't cut off your Internet connection - pronto - if he really wanted to.
  • 8. Peter Levinsohn, President, Fox Interactive Media
    Fox Interactive Media is one of the Web's most powerful entities, controlling 13 sites that range from uber-popular MySpace.com to controversial FoxNews.com. A complement to News Corp's array of traditional film and television properties, this Internet-focused division ranked among the top 10 visited properties in the world in December 2006, according to comScore World Metrix.
  • 5. Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia
    Many consider Wikipedia their first and last stop in researching a topic; and its user-generated content has become so reliable that Nature magazine declared it "close to [Encyclopaedia] Britannica" in accuracy. But Wikipedia may just be the beginning for Wales. He recently launched his own search engine, Wikia Search, which searches only sites mentioned in Wikipedia.
  • 2. Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple
    When one man's appeal for DRM-free music reverberates around the world, it's hard to ignore the power he wields. Jobs popularized legal music downloads and legal TV and movie downloads. And with the iPhone Apple may have the product that will finally popularise Internet browsing on a mobile device.
  • 1. Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin, Executives, Google
    Sergey Brin and Larry Page's little project from Stanford has grown into the Web's most talked-about powerhouse, and one of the few names on this list to have morphed into a verb. Schmidt left Novell to join the board of directors at Google in 2001 and soon became the company's CEO. Google seems to be gearing up for an acquisition spree, its headline-grabbing purchase of YouTube marking a big step toward complete domination of the Web.
  • 4. Mike Morhaime, President, Blizzard Entertainment
    In the world of online gaming, there is World of Warcraft and there is everything else. With 8 million players worldwide, Blizzard earns about US$1.5 billion a year on WoW. And each player is breathlessly beholden to Mike Morhaime for the chance - if it ever comes - to obtain that Blade of Eternal Justice.
  • 9. Marissa Mayer, Vice President for Search Products & User Experience, Google
    Google's product czar oversees the search giant's increasingly diversified list of Web services and tools, such as Google Maps, Google Desktop, and Google Base. She joined the company as its first female engineer in 1999 (she was approximately employee #20) and worked on developing Google's now-familiar minimalist look.
  • 10. Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, Founders, YouTube
    Despite Google's acquisition of the company, the YouTube founders look like they'll be shaking things up for some time to come. YouTube announced plans to pay users for videos, and it has signed several big-media content partnerships (with MTV, NBC, Warner Music, and others).
  • 13. Henry Chon, CEO, Cyworld
    In South Korea, an estimated 25 percent of the population (and 90 percent of people in their teens and twenties) have Cyworld accounts, where individuals design miniature animated avatars to represent them in its unique online space. In 2006 CEO Henry Chon brought Cyworld to U.S. shores. Though Cyworld hasn't yet achieved comparable success here, MySpace shouldn't rest easy if Chon's track record is any indication of future competition.
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