Best of the Mac Web Survey Results

October 2002

Dan Knight - 2002.10.24

The fourth Best of the Mac Web (BotMW) survey, an opinion poll covering a good segment of the independent Mac Web, is finished. Voting took place over a nine day period, and 2,500 Mac fans shared their opinion of 100 of the best known Mac-related sites.

We ran the first BotMW survey in April 2000, starting with 40 sites and adding six more during the survey period.

The second BotMW survey included 56 sites, ten more than the first survey. It was followed by our first Rest of the Mac Web survey at the end of November 2001, which included 41 additional sites.

The third BotMW survey covered 50 sites in March 2002, and it was followed by our second RotMW survey, which also included 50 sites.

We began the current list 89 sites from the Spring 2002 BotMW and RotMW surveys, added 11 more sites to bring the number up to 100.

We attempted to contact the publishers of listed sites before going public, giving them the opportunity to add a link to the survey and have the opinions of their visitors counted. 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 remains a popularity contest. In fact, that is one of two things we hoped to learn - how well known various sites are. The other thing, and our primary concern, is learning what you think of these sites.

Best Known on the Mac Web

In the first survey, the best known site received 1,210 votes and the average was 617 votes per site. The second time out, the best known site received 2,055 votes and the average rose to 736 votes per site. The third time, which was a two-week survey, the best known site received 2,963 votes, the average was 1,197, and the least known site received 373 votes.

In the current survey, the best known site received 2,490 votes, the least known just 47, and the average was 571 votes.

The following list simply ranks sites by the number of votes received.

  1. VersionTracker
  2. Macworld
  3. As the Apple Turns
  4. MacCentral
  5. MacOS Rumors
  6. TidBITS
  7. MacNN
  8. MacFixIt
  9. MacAddict
  10. Think Secret
  11. MacInTouch
  12. Accelerate Your Mac
  13. OS X FAQ
  14. Low End Mac
  15. SpyMac
  16. O'Grady's PowerPage
  17. Crazy Apple Rumors
  18. Joy of Tech
  20. Mac OS X Hints
  21. Mac Minute
  22. IconFactory
  23. DealMac
  24. Mac Rumors
  25. ResExcellence
  26. Mac Observer
  27. MacSlash
  28. Macworld UK
  29. Inside Mac Games
  30. MacSurfer
  31. Bare Feats
  32. Applelinks
  33. Railhead Design
  34. Insanely Great Mac
  35. Apple History
  36. Your Mac Life
  37. osOpinion
  38. PowerBook Central
  39. Mac Night Owl
  40. ATPM
  41. ramSeeker
  43. Stepwise
  45. Mac Desktops
  46. MacGamer
  47. PowerBook Zone
  48. Mac Update
  49. MacOpinion
  50. Deals on the Web
  1. EveryMac
  2. MacUser UK
  3. MacWindows
  4. Applelust
  5. MacEdition
  6. MacSpeedZone
  7. Mac Resource Page
  8. PowerBook Source
  9. macHome
  10. 3 Macs and a Printer
  11. Mac Evangelist
  12. Working Mac
  13. Apple Museum
  14. iGeek
  15. Macinstein
  16. MacDirectory
  17. Should our schools have Macs?
  18. Creative Mac
  19. Chez Mark
  20. MacReviewZone
  22. Macteens
  23. MyMac
  24. Mac Orchard
  25. Macs Only!
  26. pickle's Low-end Mac FAQ
  28. Mac Monkies
  29. System 6 Heaven
  30. RandomMaccess
  31. MacMerc
  32. MyAppleMenu
  33. MacNet v2
  34. MacNetJournal
  35. Why the Mac is so
  36. Mac OS Zone
  37. Mac OS Planet
  38. Jag's House
  40. MacDailyNews
  41. Cool Mac
  42. Apple Quicklinks
  43. The Mac Mind
  44. The Mac 512k
  45. MacCritic
  46. AppleTechs
  47. Family-Mac
  48. MacVillage
  49. iMac NewsPage

For the most part, the better known sites have been on the Web longer than the lesser known sites.

Best of the Mac Web

This is the heart 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 2.722 to 4.618 (if these were letter grades, that would be from C- to A-). Scores are reported to three decimal places.

In cases where there is a tie, and there were several this time, the site with the greater number of votes is listed first.

Because twice as many sites were covered in this survey, it's not particularly helpful to compare rankings between this survey and the last one, although it does shed some light on things. What's more significant is whether a site held its position relative to other sites near it in the previous survey - or moved up or down - and how the overall site score has changed.

Overall, scores averaged higher than on the previous survey.

Best of the Mac Web Award

These are what Agent J Best of the Mac Webof MIB would call "the best of the best of the best, sir."

The numbers in parentheses represent the score followed by the popularity ranking of the site. The first group of sites are the 20 highest rated and are entitled to post our "Best of the Mac Web, October 2002" badge.

1. TidBITS (4.593/6)

Up from third place in our previous survey, TidBITS is an institution. Adam Engst emailed the first newsletter on April 16, 1990, making it the granddaddy of Mac Web sites. The 4.59 score is a significant improvement over 4.47 in the last survey. Highly respected, TidBITS has moved up from 6th best known site in our Spring 2002 survey.

2. MacSurfer's Headline News (4.580/30)

Considered a must visit by many Mac Web users, MacSurfer has been posting dozens of links to new content on dozens of sites since 1995 and is updated several times daily. The site has jumped from 4th place in our Spring survey to second place in this one. The 4.58 score is a nice increase from 4.42 in our last survey.

3. VersionTracker (4.511/1)

The winner in both categories last time, VersionTracker has an average score of 4.51, down from 4.68 in the last survey, and remains the best known site in our survey.

4. Mac OS X Hints (4.489/20)

Number 8 in our previous Best of the Mac Web survey, Mac OS X Hints zooms ever nearer the top of our surveys. The site was launched last year, making it the newest site among the Top 10.

5. As the Apple Turns (4.466/3)

AtAT was the 2nd best known site and second best rated site in the third Best of the Mac Web Survey. As always, AtAT fans came in droves. The site, launched in 1997, is the #5 rated site and the 3rd best known site in our survey.

6. OS X FAQ (4.421/13)

After coming it as #2 on the last Rest of the Mac Web survey, OS X FAQ takes a very impressive 7th place this time out. The site's average score also improves a bit, going from 4.33 to 4.38.

7. Joy of Tech (4.402/18)

Brand new to the Best of the Mac Web survey, Joy of Tech offers three new cartoons a week and debuts in the Top 10.

8. Mac Minute (4.387/21)

Down a couple spots from last time, Mac Minute is a bit over a year old. The site improves its average score from 4.24 to 4.39. Mac Minute is known for a fast-loading page offering more than just headline links, and it is updated several times per day. As Ian Betteridge of MacUser (UK) said, it's "a perfect example of how to get news on the Web just right."

9. Crazy Apple Rumors (4.346/17)

Number 4 on the previous RotMW survey, Crazy Apple Rumors is dedicated to the fabrication of rumors that "defy verifiability, grammatical convention, or any basis in reality." The site's average score rose from 4.15 to 4.35. John T. Moltz has built quite a following since he launched the site in December 2001. 

10. MacInTouch (4.332/11)

Rounding out the Top 10, MacInTouch is "The original Mac news and information site since 1994" and remains a daily visit for a lot of Mac users. The site is down from a #5 ranking last time even though it improved its overall rating from 4.25 to 4.33.

11. DealMac (4.290/23)

Up one steps from BotMW#3, DealMac does one thing and does it well. Launched in 1997, DealMac helps Mac users find the best deals on a broad range of items. DealMac's score or 4.29 is a significant improvement over 4.09 last time around.

12. The IconFactory (4.286/22)

The top of the last RotMW survey in both score and popularity, The IconFactory is all about icons for the Mac - and has been since it started in April 1996.

13. Accelerate Your Mac (4.278/12)

Down from #9 in our previous survey, Accelerate Your Mac raises its average score from 4.19 to 4.28. Many Mac users consider the site an essential visit before investing in a new drive or a CPU upgrade.

14. ResExcellence (4.257/25)

Down from 7th place in our last survey, that's mostly because of sites new to this survey. ResExcellence, a system hacker's delight since 1997, continues to draw a strong and loyal following. Its score improved slightly from 4.22 to 4.26.

15. Low End Mac (4.191/14)

Low End Mac dropped four slots from the last survey. Looking at the newcomers, we can't complain. LEM has been providing valuable resources for Mac users since April 1997 and has developed into one of the leading editorial sites on the Mac Web. Our average score improves form 4.10 to 4.19. LEM is the 17th best known site among those polled, a drop from #11 last time around.

16. MacUpdate (4.189/48)

Jumping an impressive 10 spots from the Spring 2002 survey, MacUpdate has become the leading alternative to VersionTracker. The site's score has jumped from 3.66 to 4.19, one of the biggest improvements in the survey.

17. MacDesktops (4.111/45)

Up four spots from the Spring 2002 survey, MacDesktops is where I go when I want to change my desktop picture. If you're tired of your desktop art, it's got an incredible selection of images. The site's overall score has jumped from 3.75 to 4.11.

18. Inside Mac Games (4.106/29)

Down three spots from last time (blame all the new sites), Inside Mac Games has seen a score improvement (4.11 vs. 3.92) while remaining at about the same level of popularity (31 this time among a much larger group of sites, 24 last time).

19. ramSeeker (4.100/41)

I never buy memory without checking ramSeeker first, and I'm obviously not alone. An invaluable resource, ramSeeker was #5 in the last RotMW survey. The site's rating improves from 3.97 to 4.10.

20. EveryMac (4.089/51)

If I'd known about EveryMac, I might never have created Low End Mac. EveryMac has more information than we do about several brands of Mac clones and upgrade cards. It was #7 on the RotMW survey and zooms comfortably into the Top 20 here.

Rest of the Best

These sites didn't make the Top 20 to earn the "Best of the Mac Web" badge. Some came very close; others fell much lower on the list.

21. Railhead Design (4.088/33)

Railhead Design has an attractive design that makes good use of frames. Then again, the site's focus is the interface, so it stands to reason they'd have a nice design. It debuted on the third Best of the Mac Web survey with a respectable 14th place and slips to 21st this time around. It also moves up from 36th best known to 34th.

22. Deals on the Web (4.073/50)

The newest Mac deals site on the Web, Deals on the Web was #10 in the Spring RotMW survey.

23. Apple History (4.065/35)

Third place in the previous Rest of the Mac Web survey, Apple History is an excellent resource that's been around since May 1996.

24. MacNN (4.033/7)

The #13 site in our last survey, MacNN is down 11 spots this time. The 4.03 score is slightly better than last time around. The site that was the 7th best known in the last two polls remains #7.

25. (4.017/44)

The focus is on emulating other hardware on the Mac - especially game systems such as Atari 2600, Nintendo, Gameboy, and so forth.

26. The Mac Observer (4.004/26)

Down just three spots from our last survey, the slightly lower rank is due to sites new to this survey slipping in ahead of it. A combination of news, analysis, commentary, and press releases, TMO provides a good mix of content and is updated several times each day. TMO sees a very nice improvement in their score compared with last time (4.00 vs. 3.72).

27. Stepwise (3.993/43)

Stepwise was #9 in RotMW last time and makes a nice debut on the BotMW. Although not as widely known as many sites, those who know it rate it highly.

28. MacWindows (3.973/53)

MacWindows bills itself as "the Web site for Macintosh-Windows integration solutions." Although there are several "new to this survey" sites ahead of it, MacWindows moved down six spots from #22 in our last survey, improving its score from 3.74 to 3.97. If you're using both operating systems, whether on a network or on a single computer, MacWindows is an invaluable resource.

29. MacCentral (3.936/4)

MacCentral, a major Mac news site, has dropped significantly after steadily holding a Top 20 position in our first three surveys. This time the site moves from #17 down to #29. The sites score of 3.94 is an improvement compared to 3.84 last time. It also drops from being the 3rd best known site on our last survey to 4th place.

30. Bare Feats (3.935/31)

Rob-Art Morgan has been posting benchmarks for years. Always an interesting mix of test results and interesting commentary, his reports are educational and fun to read. Bare Feats has moved down six spots in this survey and seen a nice increase in its score (from 3.72 to 3.93).

31. Your Mac Life (3.913/36)

New in our Spring survey, Your Mac Life held the 18th spot. With all the additional sites this time, YML has dropped to 29th place while improving their score from 3.83 to 3.91.

32. (3.906/19)

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, the site is improves its score from 3.58 on the last RotMW survey to 3.91 this time.

33 - tie. MacFixIt (3.903/8)

Down from #10 in our third BotMW survey and #3 in our second, MacFixIt has dropped significantly in the rankings. It has also moved up from 6th best known in our November survey to 8th best known this time. MacFixIt started in March 1996 as an online appendix to Sad Mac, Bombs & Other Disasters. Since moving to a subscription model for their valuable archives, MacFixIt's rating has dropped considerably from 4.53 in the second BotMW survey to 3.90 this time out.

33 - tie. MacSlash (3.903/27)

MacSlash provides news links and a place to discuss the topics of the day for Mac users. MacSlash was 20th in the previous survey and has a noticeably higher score (3.90 vs. 3.76) this time around.

35. Think Secret (3.888/10)

Down just three spots from BotMW #3, Think Secret is the highest rated rumor site on this survey and improved its score from 3.53 to 3.89, one of the biggest improvements on the survey.

36. MacGamer (3.886/46)

MacGamer moved down several spots while improving its score from 3.69 to 3.89.

37. Apple Museum (3.877/63)

The Apple Museum has been covering the whole of Apple history (not just Macs) since 1998. New to BotMW, their score is up from 3.64 in the second Rest of the Mac Web survey.

38. Chez Mark (3.840/69)

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. Chez Mark's score drops slightly from 3.87 in the RotMW survey to 3.84 this time.

39. 3 Macs and a Printer (3.824/60)

Got questions about networking Macs? 3 Macs and a Printer is an invaluable resource. A big thanks to ATPM for hosting 3 Macs. The site has increased its score from 3.67 last spring to 3.82 today.

40. Mac Rumors (3.805/24)

Up (yes, up, which is uncommon in this survey) five slots from #45 in our last survey, Mac Rumors is a Slashdot-like rumor site. The site has improved its score from 3.36 to 3.805 and is fairly well known, rating as the 24th best known site in this survey.

41. Should Our Schools Have Macs or PCs? (3.791/67)

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 improves its score from 3.72 in the last survey.

42. Creative Mac (3.779/68)

Creative Mac has a 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 from to 3.42 to 3.78.

43 - tie. (3.773/42)

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. saw its score slip slightly from 3.83 to 3.77.

43 - tie. Macworld UK (3.773/52)

Like MacUser UK, Macworld UK has managed to improve it's score a bit, from 3.62 to 3.77 while slipping from 32nd place in the rankings.

45. MacUser UK (3.716/52)

The UK edition of MacUser moved down 26 spots from #19. MacUser UK, but its rating only slipped from 3.82 to 3.72.

46. iGeek (3.703/64)

When David K. Every decided that MacKiDo had run its course, he launched iGeek, which makes its debut on the Best of the Mac Web survey.

47 - tie. MacEdition (3.694/55)

MacEdition held on nicely this survey - down 7 spots from #40 last time out, but among a much bigger pool of sites. I'm especially partial to CodeBitch's rants against nonstandard, noncompliant HTML. The sites score has improved its rating from 3.47 to 3.69.

47 - tie. Mac Orchard (3.694/74)

Mac Orchard has a specific focus on Internet-related software and has been on the Web since 1995. Their score slipped slightly from 3.73 to 3.69.

49. Macworld (3.690/2)

Macworld was #36 in the spring Best of the Mac Web survey and moves to the middle of the pack in this outing. The site's rating has improved from 3.49 to 3.69, and it's the second best know site in the survey.

50. MacSpeedZone (3.671/56)

Down from #31 (out of 50 sites) in the last BotMW survey, MacSpeedZone improved its score from 3.54 to 3.67.

51. Macs Only! (3.663/75)

Macs Only! is down seven spots in the current survey, which translates to a very good showing. Updated daily since 1995, Bill Fox's Macs Only! site has long been a personal favorite. IMHO, it deserves to be better known. The site's score has climbed from 3.37 to 3.66.

52. O'Grady's PowerPage (3.662/16)

Once the premier PowerBook site, O'Grady's PowerPage (formerly covers 'Books, Palms, and iPods. The PowerPage ranked 35th in our last survey, but it has slipped to 52nd place in the current, larger survey. It has improved from the 25th best known site in March 2002 to 16th in October.

53. Insanely Great Mac (3.649/34)

Down 11 slots, the roots of Insanely Great Mac go back to 1995, although it didn't take its current name until 1997. The current score is up quite a bit from 3.42, and it has moved down just a bit from 30th best known to 34th.

54. the pickle's Low-end Mac FAQ (3.648/76)

The pickle's Low-end Mac FAQ has all sorts of useful (and often obscure) information about pre-PowerPC Macs, 100% compliant 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 slipped the tinniest bit from 3.68 to 3.65.

55. MacReviewZone (3.642/70)

MacReviewZone moved from the Rest of the Mac Web survey. The site's score improved from 3.53 to 3.64.

56 - tie. About This Particular Macintosh (3.481/40)

ATPM is the top rated Mac ezine in our survey, down 17 slots from our last survey. The site's overall rating has improved from 3.48 to 3.62.

56 - tie. RandomMaccess (3.624/80)

The site's score has improved quite a bit from 3.58 in the RotMW survey to 3.62 in this survey.

58. Mac Night Owl (3.619/39)

Down 15 spots from last time in a much larger survey, Mac Night Owl bills itself as "your complete Mac support site." It's a great place to stop to see what's on Gene Steinberg's mind, especially if you're interested in Mac OS X. The site's score improved significantly from 3.39 to 3.62.

59. Applelinks (3.611/32)

Started as a page with a bunch of Apple links in 1997, Applelinks features daily content from John H. Farr and Charles W. Moore, as well as articles by other regular contributors. The site was 30th among 50 sites in the last BotMW survey. The site's score has again improved a tiny bit from 3.59 to 3.61.

60. osOpinion (3.604/37)

Down over 30 spots from our March survey (blame it on the sites added), osOpinion is part of the NewsFactor Network. The sites score has declined slightly from 3.63 to 3.60. While not strictly a Macintosh site, I consider osOpinion something of a "stealth" Mac site - it provides a lot of content critical of Windows and favoring the Mac and *nix.

61. MacMerc (3.596/81)

MacMerc is a Slashdot-like site with a Mac focus. The site's score improved noticeably from 3.42 to 3.60.

62. Jag's House (3.594/88)

Jag's House is one of three sites 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 edges up from 3.57 to 3.59.

63. Mac Net Journal (3.591/84)

The only blog in the survey, Rob McNair-Huff updates MNJ regularly. It's become a daily visit at LEM headquarters. The site's score jumped from 3.06 in the RotMW survey to 3.59 this time. Recommended.

64. PowerBook Central (3.590/38)

Laptops are expected to account for 25% of all personal computer sales this year, and there aren't enough good PowerBook sites out there. PowerBook Central was #33 in our previous Best of the Mac Web survey. It's one of the better 'Book sites and the second highest rated one in this poll. The site's score has improved a bit from 3.53 to 3.59

65. (3.559/71)

Another site modeled after Slashdot, the focus here is Mac OS X. was near the middle of the pack in the RotMW survey and falls at the two-thirds mark this time. The site's 3.51 score has edged up to 3.56.

66. Mac Resource Page (3.547/37)

One of the older sites on the Mac Web, MRP's roots go back to 1996. MRP is mostly news links with some advice and commentary. MRP held the 27th place in our spring survey. its score has dropped from 3.63 to 3.55.

67. The Mac 512k (3.521/94)

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. The site has improved its score from 3.38 to 3.52.

68. Macteens (3.521/72)

A reborn Macteens debuts in the Best of the Mac Web in 68th place.

69. MacDailyNews (3.491/90)

Brand spanking new, MacDailyNews debuts in the Best of the Mac Web in 69th place.

70. (3.482/77)

Another debut, AppleAudio specializes in news you can listen to via QuickTime audio.

71. MacOS Rumors (3.472/5)

There's popularity - and then there's notoriety. MacOS Rumors (MOSR) has been dishing up Mac rumors since 1995 and is the best known Mac rumor site, although it's not the most respected. It's one of the better known sites in our survey (1,705 votes), but it's far from the most respected site on the Web. MOSR has seen its score increase from 3.24 to 3.47.

72. MacAddict (3.464/9)

Magazine sites don't tend to translate to the Web and develop a big following. MacAddict moves from 38th place out of 50 sites to 72nd out of 100. MacAddict's score has dropped slightly from 3.48 to 3.46. The 4th best known site in our November survey, MacAddict is 9th on this outing.

73. Mac OS Zone (3.461/86)

Mac OS Zone was one of the earliest Mac sites I visited on a regular basis when I first got connected to the Internet. The site has seen a decline in its score from 3.67 to 3.46.

74 - tie. macHome (3.460/59)

Another magazine-related site, the macHome website has a clean, uncluttered design.

74 - tie. System 6 Heaven (3.460/79)

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. That said, System 6 screams on fast machines like the IIfx. The site's rating dropped from 3.61 to 3.46.

76. PowerBook Zone (3.440/47)

Started on July 4, 1998, The PowerBook Zone's score declined slightly from 3.49 to 3.44. It was the 43rd best known site in our 3rd BotMW survey and dropped to 47th this time.

77. (3.426/89)

The first independent website dedicated to Apple's .mac services, is a very new site designed to help .mac users get the most out of their investment.

78. MacOpinion (3.425/49)

MacOpinion was once the premier commentary-only sites on the Mac Web, but it's a shadow of its former self. Regular contributors are Charles Moore, Philip Machanick, and Marc Zeedar; between them the site usually has 2-4 new articles per week. The site's score has improved from 3.31 to 3.425.

79. Mac Monkies (3.416/33)

This one seems to be an up-and-comer. Voters seem to agree - the site's score jumped from 3.19 to 3.42.

80. The Mac Mind (3.398/78)

The site's score improved from 3.12 to 3.40, but it remains near the bottom of the list.

81. MyAppleMenu (3.368/82)

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 3.15 on the RotMW survey and improves to 3.37.

82. Applelust (3.349/53)

Applelust's specialty is in-depth articles. The site scored 3.35 in our last BotMW survey and matches the score this time around.

83. MyMac (3.341/73)

New to the RotMW survey, MyMac is an ezine. It isn't particularly well known, but it has improved its score impressively from 3.14 to 3.34 in this survey.

84. SpyMac (3.304/15)

Moving up from last place in the RotMW survey, SpyMac is the lowest rated Mac rumor site in this survey. The site is best known for its iWalk rumors - a product we still haven't seen. SpyMac improved its rating from 2.79 to 3.30.

85. PowerBook Source (3.301/58)

PBS used to be our favorite 'Book resource, but it remains near the bottom of the polls. Its score holds steady, moving up a tiny bit from 3.27 to 3.30.

86. MacDirectory (3.288/66)

MacDirectory works from a different paradigm, 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. MacDirectory's score has dropped noticeably from 3.44 to 3.29.

87 - tie. Working Mac (3.277/62)

A little over 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 improve a bit from 3.22 to 3.28 in this poll.

87 - tie. Why the Mac is so (3.277/85) carries the "domain as brand name" concept a bit too far. The site has a busy design, tends to load slowly, and sometimes has some interesting new content. Its score improved slightly from 3.09 to 3.28.

89. CoolMac (3.229/32)

CoolMac proclaims "a better computer, a better website," but I just can't get it to look good in IE or iCab - especially that 3D bar with the date and several links. Interesting content, but I have to wonder what kind of computer they use to preview their home page design (the same bar with links is not a problem on other pages).

90. MacNETv2 (3.179/83)

I've seen and linked to some good content on MacNETv2, but at this point it seems to be a small fish in a big pond. The site's score has slipped from 3.21 to 3.18.

91. Apple Quicklinks (3.170/92)

Low End Mac's sister site is a fledgling headline news service that was launched just before the July Macworld Expo. It hasn't yet set the world on fire. Unfortunately, the site's been down due to DNS problems since last weekend.

92. Mac OS Planet (3.136/87)

MOSP has an interesting design heavily influenced by Aqua - and it's the first time I've run across a site that looks better in iCab than IE (at least the classic versions, since I'm still using OS 9.x almost exclusively).

93. AppleTechs (3.128/96)

A favorite underrated, underknown site, AppleTechs offers technical help for Mac users, although updates have been infrequent lately. The sites score slips from 3.34 to 3.13 this time.

94. MacCritic (3.098/95)

Another relatively new site, MacCritic is set up so registered users (free membership) can leave comments on their articles. At this point, not many are taking advantage of that feature.

95. Macinstein (3.047/65)

Way down from 37 (13 above the bottom) in the RotMW survey, Macinstein is a commentary site with a Mac-centric search engine. The site is well known but not well rated. The site's score dropped slightly from 3.10 to 3.05.

96. The iMac NewsPage (2.821/99)

A relic from the Age of the iMac, The iMac NewsPage seems to be on its last legs. The 2.82 score is virtually identical to the last survey.

97. (2.809/100)

If there'd been any indication on the site that had been reinvented as, I wouldn't have included it here - and might have listed MacMail, which tries to be more than just a free email service.

98. MacVillage (2.807/98)

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 down slightly from 2.96.

99. Mac EvangeList (2.779/61)

Probably on its last legs after the site's owner was arrested, Mac Evangelist dropped precipitously from a 3.52 score to 2.78, easily the biggest decline in our poll.

100. Family-Mac (2.835/97)

Family-Mac is not a well known Mac ezine, and the home page isn't very attractive, but it's published some thought-provoking content. The site's rating has slipped from 2.83 to 2.71. Family-Mac usually produces a new issue around the 15th of the month. Watch for links on MacSurfer.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

For weighted scores and raw numbers, see Best of the Mac Web Addendum.

The fifth Best of the Mac Web survey

Sometime in the Spring of 2003 (March or April) we'll be doing this again.

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