Best Industries 2012: E-commerce | 5 Online Retailers Cashing In

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Oyster.com | Oyster.com

Specialty: Travel
Headquarters: New York City
Leadership: Elie Seidman (co-founder & CEO), Ariel Charytan (co-founder & CCO), Etyan Seidman (co-founder & VP of product)

Why it's hot: Aside from booking a flight, finding a place to stay can be one of the most daunting aspects of travel. Enter Oyster.com: a travel accommodation PI whose 20 hotel "investigators" have covered more than 2,500 hotels in over 100 locations around the world. Investigators take high-res photos of everything at each location—from the mattress to the mini bar—and review it on a one-to-five "pearl" scale. Oyster.com also checks out nearby restaurants to see if they're up to snuff. Last April, the Travel Channel invested $7.5 million in the company and earlier this year, Oyster.com released a free iPad app that includes more than 700,000 undoctored images and interactive maps.