Rest of the Mac Web Results

April 2002

Dan Knight - 2002.04.11

Here are the results of the second Rest of the Mac Web (RotMW) survey. Our twice-a-year survey gave Mac users the opportunity to rate Mac sites they were familiar with - in this case, the sites that didn't make our most recent Best of the Mac Web (BotMW) survey.

Because we had 56 sites in the BotMW survey and 41 in the RotMW survey last November, we won't make any attempt to compare a site's placement last time around with their current popularity. However, we will compare the scores of sites which were in our earlier surveys. In general, those scores have improved.

The best rated sites in this survey will move up to the next Best of the Mac Web survey, which is planned for October. Any site scoring a 4.0 or higher is guaranteed a place in BotMW. Beyond that, we'll just have to see how things pan out, but it's conceivable that 10-12 sites from this survey could move to BotMW in October.

Likewise, the sites with the poorest scores on this survey might not be on the next Rest of the Mac Web survey. Them's the breaks, but we keep getting emails about sites not on either of our surveys.

Our surveys are far from exhaustive; there are hundreds of Mac-related sites on the Web. We're not covering half of them between both polls, although a lot of sites on RotMW are not widely known.

We attempted to contact the publisher of each site before going public, giving them the opportunity to add a link to the survey and have the opinions of their visitors counted. However, some emails bounced, and in other cases we simply couldn't find a way to contact the publisher.

We encouraged publishers to link to the survey so we could poll a broad cross-section of Mac users. With enough sites sending voters, it keeps results from getting spiked by a strong push from a single site.

To some extent, this is a popularity contest. One of two things we hoped to learn is how well known various sites are. The other thing, and our primary concern, is learning what you think of these sites.

Best Known of the Rest

In the first survey, the best known site received 466 votes out of 1,019 votes cast, and the average was 173.5 votes per site. This time out, the best known site received 573 votes out of 1,183, and the average stood at 167.6 votes per site. The least known site received 67 votes.

The following list simply ranks sites by the number of votes received. Sites new to this survey are noted.

  1. IconFactory, new
  2. OS X FAQ, new
  3. Apple History
  4. SpyMac
  5., new
  6. Crazy Apple Rumors, new
  7. EveryMac
  9. ramSeeker, new
  10. Macinstein
  11. Applelust
  12. Chez Mark
  13. Deals on the Web, new
  14. 3 Macs and a Printer
  15. MacDirectory
  16. MacReviewZone
  17., new
  18. Mac Orchard
  19. Creative Mac
  20. Stepwise
  21. Mac OS Zone
  22. Apple Museum
  23. Jag's House
  24. Should Our Schools Have Macs or PCs?
  25. The Daily Mac
  1. MacNETv2
  2. The
  3. Working Mac
  4. the pickle's Low-end Mac FAQ
  5. MacMilitia
  6. System 6 Heaven
  7. The Mac 512k, new
  8. Mac Monkies
  9. Webintosh
  10. AppleTechs
  11. Why the Mac is so
  12. The Mac Mind
  13. RandomMaccess
    MacMerc, new
  1. MyMac
  2. Brave New Mac
  3. Mac Net Journal, new
  4., new
  5. Family-Mac
  6. MyAppleMenu
  7. MacVillage
  1. The iMac NewsPage
  3. macXcess

Best of the Rest

This is the meat of the survey. In this section sites are ranked by the overall opinion of those who rated them. We counted 1 point for each unacceptable vote, 2 for poor, 3 for average, 4 for good, and 5 for excellent. This total was divided by the total number of votes cast for the site, resulting in scores ranging from 2.79 to 4.52 out of a possible 5. Scores are reported to three decimal places.

The overall average score in this survey was 3.58, higher than the 3.47 average of the previous RotMW survey. There are a number of reasons for this, and since the set of sites in this poll is quite different from those in the previous survey, the higher average score may not be significant.

The second number in parentheses is the site's popularity ranking.

Cream of the Crop

1. The IconFactory (4.520/1)

New to the survey, The IconFactory is all about icons for the Mac - and has been since it started in April 1996. The site will be moving up to the Best of the Mac Web survey in October. Not only is it the most highly regarded site in the survey, but it had 70% more votes than the next most popular site as well.

2. OS X FAQ (4.327/2)

Also new to the survey, OS X FAQ is fairly new, pretty useful, and should fare well in the October 2002 Best of the Mac Web survey.

3. Apple History (4.176/3)

After scoring near the top in our first Rest of the Mac Web survey, Apple History is back for an encore - and with a higher score (4.18 vs. 3.96). An excellent resource that's been around since May 1996.

4. Crazy Apple Rumors (4.146/6)

Crazy Apple Rumors is dedicated to the fabrication of rumors that "defy verifiability, grammatical convention, or any basis in reality." John T. Moltz has built quite a following since he launched the site in December 2001. Another site headed for the next Best of the Mac Web survey.

5. ramSeeker (3.974/9)

I never buy memory without checking ramSeeker first. An invaluable resource, it will probably be on the next Best of the Mac Web survey.

6. Chez Mark (3.866/12)

We first learned of Chez Mark because it's a top rated site on SiteLink, where it consistently holds a Top 20 rank. The focus of this software site is shareware, and it covers both OS X and the classic Mac OS. After two appearances on the Best of the Mac Web survey, Chez Mark (launched in 1995) moved to RotMW this time. It is the best rated "refugee" site in the survey and has improved its score from 3.32 to 3.87.

7. EveryMac (3.858/7)

As I said last time, if I'd known about EveryMac back in 1996, I might never have created Low End Mac. EveryMac has more information than we do about several brands of Mac clones and upgrade cards.

8. (3.833/8)

From the home page, looks like the focus is on discussion boards. I haven't signed in or explored the site, but it's the second highest rated OS X site in this survey. improved its score from 3.56 to 3.83.

9. Stepwise (3.831/20)

Stepwise is back for the second time - and with a nice improvement in their score (up from 3.75). Although not as widely known as other Top 10 sites (it came in 20th in terms of popularity), those who know it rate it highly.

10. Deals on the Web (3.734/13)

The newest Mac deals site on the Web, Deals on the Web has a strong debut.

11. Mac Orchard (3.733/18)

Mac Orchard has a specific focus on Internet-related software and has been on the Web since 1995. Their score improved from 3.54 to 3.73.

12. Should Our Schools Have Macs or PCs? (3.721/24)

John Droz created "Should Our Schools" in response to mid-2000 attempts to have a 90% Mac school district standardize on Windows PCs. An excellent resource for others engaged in that conflict at home, work, school, or elsewhere, the site improved its score significantly from 3.21 in the last survey.

13. the pickle's Low-end Mac FAQ (3.682/29)

Endorsed by Low End Mac, the pickle's Low-end Mac FAQ has all sorts of useful (and sometimes obscure) information about pre-PowerPC Macs, clean HTML, and a sparse, content-centric look. There's lots of information here. Recommended to anyone working with 68000- to 68040-based Macs. The site's score has jumped from 3.32 to 3.68 - very impressive.

14. Mac OS Zone (3.673/21)

Mac OS Zone keeps evolving. It was one of the earliest Mac sites I visited on a regular basis when I first got connected to the Web. The site has improved its score from 3.48 to 3.67.

14. 3 Macs and a Printer (3.670/14)

Got questions about networking Macs? 3 Macs and a Printer is an invaluable resource with a new home since the last survey. A big thanks to ATPM for hosting 3 Macs. The site has increased its score from 3.42 last November to 3.67 today.

16. Apple Museum (3.640/22)

Another Apple history site, the Apple Museum has been covering the whole of Apple history (not just Macs) since 1998. Their score is up from 3.51.

17. System 6 Heaven (3.611/31)

This is definitely a low-end site, and one that members on Low End Mac's email lists who use System 6 rave about. System 6 is especially suited for the old 8 MHz compact Macs, since they are limited to 4 MB RAM and don't really have the horsepower to run System 7 well. Like most sites in this survey, System 6 Heaven received a higher rating this time (3.61 vs. 3.53).

18. RandomMaccess (3.585/38-tie)

It's not a well known site, but enough RandomMaccess fans wrote in that I had to include it on the survey. The site's score has improved quite a bit from 3.25 to 3.585.

19. (3.579/5)

Maybe Slashdot decided to launch when they discovered the Mac - and especially OS X - was a leading topic on their site. "News for nerds" with a Mac twist.

20. Jag's House (3.570/23)

Jag's House is the third site in this survey that specifically supports older Macs. It has a wealth of information covering everything from System software to getting a Mac Plus on the Net to how to create a Mac floppy on a PC. The site doesn't have a lot of polish, but the content is top notch. Jag's score jumped from 3.21 to 3.57.

21. MacReviewZone (3.527/16)

MacReviewZone was on the BotMW survey in November 2001, but moved to the Rest of the Mac Web survey this time. The site's score has improved from 3.37 to 3.53.

22. (3.514/17)

Another site modeled after Slashdot, the focus here is Mac OS X. falls near the middle of the pack in this survey.

23. MacDirectory (3.444/15)

Ever visit a site you just don't get? MacDirectory is one of them, and the home page really doesn't give you a clue what the site's all about or invite exploration. While you may pop over to an article on MacDirectory through a link on MacSurfer, you'd hardly know the site had new content from the home page. Despite that, it's the 15th best known site in this survey, although only the 23rd best regarded. MacDirectory has improved its score to 3.44 from 3.24 last time.

24. Creative Mac (3.419/19)

Creative Mac has a very busy home page that looks more like printed content than we're used to seeing on the Web. The site has some interesting content and makes decent use of frames, but you'll really want to use a big browser window (800 pixels or wider) to do the design justice. The score has improved nicely form 3.11 to 3.42.

25. MacMerc (3.415/38-tie)

MacMerc is another Slashdot-like site with a Mac focus.

26. The Mac 512k (3.376/32)

This site doesn't limit itself to the Fat Mac, but it does pretty much limit itself to supporting the older compact Macs. A very useful resource for those who love the classics.

27. AppleTechs (3.342/35)

A favorite underrated, underknown site, AppleTechs offers technical help for Mac users and really improved its score, jumping from 3.07 in November 2001 to 3.34 this time.

28. Applelust (3.348/11)

Applelust's specialty is in-depth articles. The site scored 3.04 in our first BotMW survey, improved to 3.16 in the second, and further improves to 3.35 this time.

29. Working Mac (3.215/28)

Not yet a year old, Working Mac is intended for professional Mac users, especially IS/IT types. The site was launched in July 2001 and saw its score slip from 3.28 in the November BotMW survey to 3.215 in this poll.

30. MacNETv2 (3.211/26)

I'd never heard of MacNETv2 until some participants in the second Best of the Mac Web survey wrote in. I've seen and linked to some good content here, but at this point it seems to be a small fish in a big pond. The site's score has really improved from 2.86 to 3.21.

31. Mac Monkies (3.185/33)

I like the attitude at Mac Monkies and think this one is an up-and-comer. Voters seem to agree - the site's score jumped from 2.87 to 3.185.

32. The Daily Mac (3.167/25)

Originally known as the Daily iMac, this site often goes for long periods with few or no updates - a real shame, since when Amy Hoy has something to say, she says it very well. The Daily Mac's score slid from 3.18 in the first BotMW survey to 3.10 in the second, improved a bit to reach 3.17 in this Rest of the Mac Web survey.

33. The (3.158/27)

Back in 1998, iMac sites were flying high (our iMac Channel got more traffic than the LEM home page!). Most have thrown in the towel, but The is hanging in there. The limited hardware focus may doom the site in the long run, since the iMac is now seen as just another part of the Apple lineup. Still, the site's score has increased from 2.85 to 3.16.

34. MyAppleMenu (3.146/45)

Once known as AppleSurf, this site took last place in the first BotMW survey and 53rd place in the second. An interesting hybrid of news links with commentary, headline links, and occasional commentary, it's a daily visit at LEM headquarters. The site's score was 2.96 on the November 2001 BotMW survey and improves to 3.15.

35. MyMac (3.139/40)

New to this survey is MyMac, an ezine. It isn't particularly well known, but it has improved its score impressively from 3.04 to 3.14 in this survey.

36. The Mac Mind (3.120/37)

Consistently rated near the bottom in the first two Best of the Mac Web surveys, The Mac Mind fares better on the Rest of the Mac Web survey. The site's score improved from 3.02 to 3.12.

37. Macinstein (3.100/10)

Macinstein is mostly a commentary site with a Mac-centric search engine. The site is very well known but not very highly regarded. The site's score improved slightly from 3.05 to 3.10.

38. Why the Mac is so (3.091/36)

Yes, carries the "domain as brand name" concept too far. The site has a busy design, tends to load slowly, and sometimes has some interesting new content. Its score improved slightly from 2.83.

39. Webintosh (3.087/34)

Webintosh is an occasional blog published by Dan Hughes, the creator of the original Webintosh. It's about Macs and other things, which is the typical blog pattern. Webintosh scored 3.13 in the November BotMW survey.

40. Brave New Mac (3.080/41)

Brave New Mac grew out of the rubble of The site's score rose from 2.84 to 3.08.

41. Mac Net Journal (3.056/42)

One of two blogs in the survey, Rob McNair-Huff updates MNJ regularly. It's become a daily visit at LEM headquarters.

42. (3.000/43)

A Mac news site that tries to distinguish itself with an OS X focus, everything here seems to be available elsewhere on the Mac Web.

43. MacVillage (2.963/46-tie)

Billed as a portal, MacVillage uses news feeds instead of discovering its own news links. The site has some original content, but it seems to lack focus. The score is up slightly from 2.73.

44. (2.963/49)

Billed as an online Mac magazine, MacUnlimited seems to have some good original content. The site's score is up from 2.70 in our last survey.

45. MacMilitia (2.924/30)

A Mac advocacy site since 1997, MacMilitia isn't updated frequently - the last two updates were March 12 and February 20. The site's score is down just a bit from 2.96 to 2.92.

46. MacNow (2.890/46-tie)

A monthly ezine, MacNow has some excellent content. It should be better known.

47. macXcess (2.866/50)

This site didn't fare well at all. It had the lowest rating in the second Best of the Mac Web survey with a score of 2.79 - and saw that improve to 2.87 in this poll.

48. Family-Mac (2.835/44)

Family-Mac is not a well known Mac ezine and the home page isn't very attractive, but it's published some good, thought-provoking content. It's boosted its rating from 2.58 to 2.835. Family-Mac usually produces a new issue around the 15th of the month. Watch for links on MacSurfer.

49. The iMac NewsPage (2.827/48)

A relic from the Age of the iMac, The iMac NewsPage seems to be on its last legs. The 2.83 score is an improvement from 2.59 in the last survey.

50. SpyMac (2.793/4)

SpyMac is the lowest rated Mac rumor site in this survey, although it was ahead of AppleGossip in the last RotMW. (AppleGossip has been down for a while, so it was not included in the current survey.) The site is best known for its iWalk rumors. SpyMac improved its rating from 2.61 to 2.79.

Other Notes

The five sites with the biggest improvement in their reader ratings:

  1. Chez Mark, up 0.547
  2. Should Our Schools Have Macs...?, up 0.507
  3. pickle's Low-end Mac FAQ, up 0.365
  4. Jag's House, up 0.358
  5. MacNETv2, up 0.351

The four sites that had a lower reader rating:

  1. MacNow, down 0.301
  2. Working Mac, down 0.065
  3. Webintosh, down 0.042
  4. MacMilitia, down 0.034

As noted in other surveys, there's a fairly strong correlation between how well known a site is and how highly readers regard it - with the strong exception of rumor sites. We'll have more on that in a follow-up article next week.

Next Time

We're planning some changes for the next pair of surveys. We intend to publish the list of sites in September and ask for suggestions on other sites that should be included. We'll then run both surveys concurrently in October.

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