We launched the first Best of the Mac Web survey in April 2001 because nobody else was doing it. We wanted to know how Low End Mac compared to the other sites in the eyes of Mac users.
We launched the first survey on April 5, 2001, and asked your opinion on 41 of the better known sites. Within 24 hours, we'd expanded that to 46 sites. The first BotMW survey lasted one week, and we didn't provide any notice to the sites surveyed until it was already underway.
We explicitly ruled out retail sites, rumor sites, and link sites (the kind that just provide links to other Mac sites).
We posted the results on April 12, 2001. Approximately 1,600-1,800 Mac users had participated in the survey, and three sites were in a virtual tie for best known with 1,198 to 1,210 votes each - VersionTracker, MacCentral, and MacFixIt.
Based on reader ratings, VersionTracker was the top rated site in the survey, followed by MacFixIt and then MacSurfer's Headline News.
During the survey period, we also posted an article listing several other Mac sites that had been suggested via email. Several of these sites were included in the next BotMW survey.
We launched the second Best of the Mac Web survey on November 15, 2001 and ran it for a week. As before, we tried to make sure every site listed in the survey was aware of BotMW and able to link to it.
We increased the number of sites in the survey from 46 to 56, some of which came from the Rest of the Mac Web article mentioned above. Approximately 2,800-3,000 Mac users voted in the survey.
This time we included rumor sites, and MacOS Rumors edged out As the Apple Turns as the best know site in the BotMW survey. However, it wasn't anywhere close to the most respected, rating 37th place. None of the rumor sites did particularly well.
As the Apple Turns and VersionTracker tied for first place based on user ratings of the sites, followed by MacFixIt and then MacSurfer.
From the beginning we'd realized that our surveys only covered a small portion of the Mac sites out there, so we ran a follow-up survey, Rest of the Mac Web, from late November through early December 2001. Site publishers were again notified of their inclusion once the survey was live.
Final results were published on December 9, 2001, and several sites from RotMW moved to the third BotMW survey in March 2002.
We scheduled the third Best of the Mac Web survey for March 2001, ran it for two full weeks, and attempted to contact every site well in advance of launching the poll. We drew the line at 50 sites, including some "graduates" from RotMW, and also drew up a list of 50 other sites for the second RotMW survey.
We had approximately 4,000 votes and published our findings on March 21, 2002.
We followed BotMW #3 with our second Rest of the Mac Web survey. This also covered 50 sites. Only 1,019 votes were cast, and we posted the results on April 11, 2002.
We eliminated the distinction between the "best" of the Mac Web and the "rest," running a single survey covering 100 Mac-related sites.