ModCloth, a Pittsburgh-based clothing retailer, lets customers tell it what product lines to carry via a hot-or-not style Web site. By tallying votes -- and noting their community's often-acerbic comments -- the company can confidently gauge which patterns will shift enough units to cover costs. It then picks out the most enthusiastic voters and commenters for targeted marketing via e-mail and Twitter. "Our internal motto is 'ModCloth is a company you're friends with,'" adds company co-founder Susan Gregg Koger.

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Inc. magazine

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