The potential for any IPO to be the next Google leaves many investors hungry to get in on their action. 2010 helped sate that hunger with 152 IPOs (excluding blank-check companies).

Investing in IPOs can be hugely profitable, but consider yourself warned -- most IPOs don't go straight to the moon. This year, the market provided a particularly strong tailwind for IPOs. According to IPOScoop.com, the average IPO this year was up 24.5%. Numbers like that keep many investors interested in newly public stocks.

At the Motley Fool, we're cautious about investing in IPOs, as you'll discover in these articles:

So why do we warn investors to be wary? Among many other reasons, insiders often use an IPO as an exit strategy. Thus, they have an incentive to show the best numbers possible; they'll often use accounting tricks to temporarily raise their earnings. After the expiration of the insiders' lock-up period, shares will often sink back to lower levels. That happened recently with Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA), which dropped more than 10% on the day its insider lock-up ended.

If you do decide to invest in IPOs, choose carefully. Many will be duds, but others could skyrocket. Here are the hottest 25 IPOs of 2010:

Rank

Company

Offer Date

Offer Price

End-of-Year Price

Return

1 Molycorp (NYSE: MCP) 7/29/2010 $14.00 $49.90 256.43%
2 HiSoft Technology International (Nasdaq: HSFT) 6/30/2010 $10.00 $30.20 202.00%
3 RealPage (NYSE: RP) 8/12/2010 $11.00 $30.93 181.18%
4 Youku.com (NYSE: YOKU) 12/8/2010 $12.80 $35.01 173.52%
5 BroadSoft (Nasdaq: BSFT) 6/16/2010 $9.00 $23.88 165.33%
6 Qlik Technologies (Nasdaq: QLIK) 7/16/2010 $10.00 $25.87 158.70%
7 Camelot Information Systems (NYSE: CIS) 7/21/2010 $11.00 $23.92 117.45%
8 Vera Bradley (NYSE: VRA) 10/21/2010 $16.00 $33.00 106.25%
9 Oasis Petroleum (NYSE: OAS) 6/17/2010 $14.00 $27.12 93.71%
10 MakeMyTrip (Nasdaq: MMYT) 8/12/2010 $14.00 $27.03 93.07%
11 Envestnet (NYSE: ENV) 7/29/2010 $9.00 $17.06 89.56%
12 Fresh Market (NYSE: TFM) 11/5/2010 $22.00 $41.20 87.27%
13 Motricity (Nasdaq: MOTR) 6/18/2010 $10.00 $18.57 85.70%
14 JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS) 5/14/2010 $11.00 $20.12 82.91%
15 Noranda Aluminum Holding (NYSE: NOR) 5/14/2010 $8.00 $14.60 82.50%
16 China Kanghui (NYSE: KH) 8/11/2010 $10.25 $18.51 80.59%
17 China Lodging Group (Nasdaq: HTHT) 3/26/2010 $12.25 $21.78 77.80%
18 SemiLEDs (Nasdaq: LEDS) 12/9/2010 $17.00 $29.05 70.88%
19 E-Commerce China Dangdang (NYSE: DANG) 12/8/2010 $16.00 $27.07 69.19%
20 Higher One (NYSE: ONE) 6/17/2010 $12.00 $20.23 68.58%
21 SouFun (NYSE: SFUN) 9/17/2010 $42.50 $71.52 68.28%
22 Inphi (Nasdaq: IPHI) 11/11/2010 $12.00 $20.09 67.42%
23 Sensata Technologies (NYSE: ST) 3/11/2010 $18.00 $30.11 67.28%
24 Amyris (Nasdaq: AMRS) 9/28/2010 $16.00 $26.68 66.75%
25 Financial Engines (Nasdaq: FNGN) 3/16/2010 $12.00 $19.83 65.25%

Source: IPOScoop.com.

These stocks are a good place to start your research if you're interested in trying to spot the next hot IPO, but they're not formal recommendations. Remember, these are companies with short track records, new to financial transparency, so do your own due diligence.

If you're looking for a stock in a hot new industry, click here to access the Fool's free special report, "The Only Stock You Need to Profit From the NEW Technology Revolution."

Dan Dzombak can be found on his Twitter account: @DanDzombak. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Qlik Technologies and The Fresh Market are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.