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)
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
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
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
The following list simply ranks sites by the number of votes
received. Sites new to this survey are noted.
- IconFactory, new
- OS X FAQ, new
- Apple History
- Crazy Apple Rumors,
- ramSeeker, new
- Chez Mark
- Deals on the Web,
- 3 Macs and a
- AllOSX.com, new
- Mac Orchard
- Mac OS Zone
- Jag's House
- Should Our Schools Have Macs or
- The Daily Mac
- The iMac.com
- Working Mac
- the pickle's Low-end Mac FAQ
- System 6
- The Mac
- Mac Monkies
- Why the Mac is so
- The Mac Mind
- Brave New Mac
- Mac Net
- The iMac
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
Cream of the Crop
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- I never buy memory without checking ramSeeker first. An invaluable
resource, it will probably be on the next Best of the Mac Web
- 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.
- 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.
- From the home page, MacOSX.com 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. MacOSX.com
improved its score from 3.56 to 3.83.
- 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.
- The newest Mac deals site on the Web, Deals on the Web has a strong
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Another Apple history site, the Apple Museum has been covering the
whole of Apple history (not just Macs) since 1998. Their score is up
- 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.
- 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.
- Maybe Slashdot decided to launch apple.slashdot.org when they
discovered the Mac - and especially OS X - was a leading topic on
their site. "News for nerds" with a Mac twist.
- 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.
- 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.
- Another site modeled after Slashdot, the focus here is Mac
OS X. AllOSX.com falls near the middle of the pack in this
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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 iMac.com (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 iMac.com 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Yes, whythemacissogreat.com 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
- 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.
- Brave New Mac grew out of the rubble of MacSoldiers.com. The site's
score rose from 2.84 to 3.08.
- One of two blogs in the survey, Rob McNair-Huff updates MNJ
regularly. It's become a daily visit at LEM headquarters.
- A Mac news site that tries to distinguish itself with an OS X
focus, everything here seems to be available elsewhere on the Mac
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- A monthly ezine, MacNow has some excellent content. It should be
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
The five sites with the biggest improvement in their reader
- Chez Mark, up 0.547
- Should Our Schools Have Macs...?, up 0.507
- pickle's Low-end Mac FAQ, up 0.365
- Jag's House, up 0.358
- MacNETv2, up 0.351
The four sites that had a lower reader rating:
- MacNow, down 0.301
- Working Mac, down 0.065
- Webintosh, down 0.042
- 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.
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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