Twice-a-year we ask for your feedback on the most significant
independent Mac-related sites on the Web. By independent, we mean
they are not run by Apple computer. By Mac-related, we mean sites
that have a strong focus on the Mac (sorry, Register
The survey leans toward established sites that are widely known,
updated regularly, contain original content, have regular updates,
and are freely accessible. Most of the sites have their own domain
and focus specifically on the Mac, but not all do.
Every time we run our Best of the Mac Web (BotMW) survey, we get a
lot of questions. This article attempts to address those
Why isn't Apple's site included?
- This is a survey of independent Mac-related sites.
Apple's site is owned and operated by Apple.
Why aren't dealers listed?
- Dealer sites rarely contain original content. Their purpose is
selling. We don't include sites where the primary focus is them
selling you a product.
Why aren't any link sites listed?
- There are a lot of sites out there that are little more than
one or more pages of links to other sites. These fail the original
content test. SiteLink
has done a nice job of differentiating itself from the rest of
these by offering MacCentral, Version Tracker, and DealMac news
feeds and by tracking
how often SiteLink visitors follow the links to outside sites, but
it still lacks original content.
Why isn't site X listed?
- In some cases, it's because we've never heard of the site
(there are hundreds out there, but we limit the survey to the best
known 100). In other cases, it's because the site hasn't scored
well enough in previous surveys to make the Best of the Mac Web
survey. At times we've used Google
to check how many outside links there are to a site. (Go to Google
and type "link:www.apple.com" to see how many links there are to
Apple's site. That's about four times as many as MacCentral, the
best-linked independent Mac site.)
Isn't that unfair to new and growing sites?
- Maybe, but we attempt to address that by including 100 sites
on the survey. Every time we run the survey, 8-12 sites from the
last one have stopped updating or gone away, so we have to add
that many other sites to the mix to keep the count at 100. New
sites can fare very well - MacMinute was new to our second BotMW
survey and rated #11.
What about personal bias?
- I've tried to avoid that from the beginning by asking other
Mac webmasters for their input. I've also received a lot of
feedback from readers during previous BotMW surveys which have
shaped the current list. It's not a perfect list, but I'm giving
it my best shot.
What does it really measure?
- Our surveys measure two things: How well known a site is and
how well respected it is. By asking you to only vote on sites you
are familiar with, the number of votes a site receives
approximates a site's popularity. It's not the Nielsen's, but it
should be a fair indicator. And going beyond a simple popularity
contest, we really want to know what you think of the sites you
visit regularly. It's your opinion, not popularity, that
determines which sites are the best.
Can someone spike the results?
- We've had sites try to do that, but the survey software used
by master.com is designed to prevent multiple votes. We do ask
sites to link to the survey; we also ask that they not tell their
visitors how to vote. We strongly discourage campaigning against
other sites and will ban sites that do so from future
What if a site doesn't link to the survey?
- It really shouldn't make much difference whether a site links
to the Best of the Mac Web survey or not. With a dozens of sites
linking to the survey, we have thousands of votes representing a
broad cross section of Mac users. One site might generate more
votes and be rated a bit more highly if it actively sends people
to take the survey, but some sites have never linked to the survey
and continue to score quite well.
Doesn't Low End Mac benefit from BotMW?
- We run these surveys as a public service, since there are no
independent measures (like Nielsen ratings on television) to tell
us which are the most visited and most respected sites on the
Internet. We might display another 20,000-40,000 ads during the
survey period, but with today's ad rates, that's peanuts. We might
also gain some new regular visitors - and that is intentional.
One of our goals in running BotMW is to expose you to the breadth
and depth of the Mac Web; there's a lot of good content out there.
Low End Mac Reader Specials
Low End Mac is an independent publication and has not been authorized,
sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc. Opinions expressed are
those of their authors and may not reflect the opinion of Cobweb
Publishing. Advice is presented in good faith, but what works for one
may not work for all.
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