An early understanding of blogging helped today's Inc. 500 honoree, New Media Strategies, get a leg up on the competition.

Location: Arlington, Va.
Three-Year Growth: 686.4%
2004 Revenue: $5 million
Employees: 44
Founded: 1999
What it does: Creates online buzz about companies and products. Why it's growing: First-mover advantage still applies. New Media Strategies understood blogging early, and when mainstream ad agencies caught up, some of them partnered with NMS instead of fighting it for clients. NMS also produces Brand Perception Reports, which tell clients--including HBO, Sony, and Citigroup--what's being said about them.

Inc.com is counting down to the unveiling of Inc. magazine's Inc. 500 list with a profile a day of one of this year's honorees. See other honorees in the Inc. 500 Countdown archive, and discover new winners each business day until Oct. 19, when we reveal this year's number one company.