Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Time Magazine's 50 Best Websites

Time Magazine is the king of lists. I don't believe any other magazine enjoys ranking things more than this media giant. Recently, I stumbled on their list of the 50 best websites. One of my favorite things to do is to assess the magazine's assessment. Often I have been critical because the magazine is notorious, in my opinion for promoting political agendas. This list, however, has done a solid job of compiling a useful and interesting group of sites. The following is the top ten, but the entire list deserves consideration.

Not surprising, number 1 on the list is GasBuddy.com. 750,000 volunteers notify the website where the best prices for gasoline can be found in almost any part of the country. With gas at over $4 a gallon in most US cities, this is a very helpful service.

Howcast.com is an innovative site that makes it possible to throw away the instruction manual for just about everything. The site is humorous and uses videos instead of mere words to get the message across. This is an excellent resource. It comes in at number 2.

Number 3 brings ILikeTotallyLoveIt.com. The name irritates me, but it is makes sense when you learn about the audience. This is a social shopping website. People post photos of items they like, leave and solicit comments about them, and other wise make shopping more fun. If you like that type of thing.

Omiru.com comes in at number 4. The site's tag line is "real style for real people." Of course, virtually every style publication and site makes similar claims, but this one may be true. It actually strives to make particular (and popular) fashions a good fit for the individual user. Interesting idea.

In our mentally and emotionally challenged culture, it should be no surprise to anyone that a site called PsychCentral.com would come in so high at number 5. This site comes with excellent assessment tools to help the user begin to understand what their needs are. Self-diagnosing can be dangerous, but understanding where to start is, well, a good beginning.

Travel sites for cheap deals are common place and appreciated, but inside information on the quality of a hotel is important. That is exactly what TripKick.com provides, right down to the best floors and rooms to avoid in specific hotels. For the frequent traveler, this is a must see site. It comes in at number 6.

WikiTravel.com provides something greatly missing from most travel sites today -- currency. People want to be kept up to date on the best deals, best rentals, best hotels, etc. They are not interested in last month's or even last week's information. WikiTravel.com comes in at number 7 and may actually solve many travel problems.

Coming in at number 8 is YahooAnswers.com. This may be my only major disagreement with the list. I have always found this site to be a pool of worthless information. However, if you always wanted to casually ask for information from people you do not know, this is the place to do it.

Ever wanted a useful site in the quest for nutritional information? You might want to take a serious look at number nine, Zeer. It has detailed information on food items and, better still, the comments of others on what is worth eating and why. Who would imagine, a user friendly food site.

Another site I had a few issues with is number 10, Afrigadget.com. The site's objective is to raise awareness about "simple, sustainable inventions in Africa." The site is actually quite informative and innovative and offers an enormous amount of practical information, particularly for struggling countries. But the site is also so narrow in focus and lacks daily updates, that I don't see how it deserved to be in the top ten.

So that's Time Magazine's top ten sites. Make sure you look at the other 40 on the list. I think that several others could and should be added to the list (while others are removed). Fortunately, Time Magazine allows me to make suggestions of my own. I suggest you let them know your opinions as well.

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Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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