The Top Seven Overrated Websites

April 15, 2009

Andy Warhol once said, "In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes." Looks like Andy was onto something, because the internet is definitely a fickle creature. A site can go from obscurity to critical mass seemingly overnight, only to see itself fall back into anonymity just as quickly. Most of the time, the sites themselves are to blame for their own downfall. Here is the current batch of websites that are ready for the glue factory.

Source: John Turner/Getty Images


7. Paypal

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The core concept of PayPal is a fairly noble one, working as a middle-man between buyers and sellers, mostly for auctions on eBay, and ensuring that everyone gets what they're supposed to. Unfortunately, PayPal's cut of the profit is absurd, especially considering the fact that when things go bad, PayPal usually looks the other way.

Also, why is it that PayPal can pull funds from my bank account instantly, but it takes them a week to put money in? And PayPal makes a point of advertising that sellers who use PayPal can accept credit cards. Well, they can - if they upgrade their accounts first, which the buyers don't know and the sellers are forced to do if they want to accept a credit card payment (which by then has already been charged to the buyer and is floundering in PayPal purgatory). This is epicly greedy and an immoral business practice. PayPal, when you die, I will gladly piss on your grave.

6. Monster.com

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How this site managed to rise above the ranks of Careerbuilder.com and HotJobs.com is still a mystery. The layout is a complete antithesis to the Craigslist approach, over-designed and constantly busy barraging you with totally useless information while attempt to sift through page after page of hoops you must jump through in order to simply apply for jobs. When you finally cave in to the various demands of Monster.com and their resume templates, cover letter designers, etc. and start actually applying to jobs, you'll notice that out of the 50 or so jobs you might apply to, 46 employers will yield no response whatsoever, three will be a spambot mailing lists which you'll never be able to get off of, and the other filled the position six months ago. Monster.com, you suck.

5. MySpace

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How the mighty have fallen. Back in 2004, when Friendster was hitting the mainstream, and its servers could no longer handle the traffic, MySpace stepped in and stole their thunder with a better interface, better clientele, and more features. But what about now? How many add requests do I need to get from fake webcam chicks named XxXxXEmoKittenXxXxX before someone at MySpace figures out there's a problem here?

From an actual "social networking" standpoint, MySpace is done. They've managed to completely ruin their own service. Any square inch of browser real estate that isn't occupied with annoying flash ads is littered with poorly organized bulletins, comments with animated glitter graphics, and ubiquitous "pensive arm extension" glamour shots of people I don't know or care to know.

The only stronghold MySpace has left is their band pages, and when every user on MySpace has about 12,000 friends, all posting spam comments and bulletins on a constant basis, trying to get anyone's attention is like screaming into an infinite abyss. Sorry MySpace, it's all downhill from here.

4. iTunes

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Okay, so iTunes isn't a website per se, it's more of an app with a web-ish interface, but iTunes is the bane of my existence, and it needs to be called out. First of all, for anyone who manages their own personal music library on a folder-by-folder basis, iTunes is an exercise in anger management.

iTunes insists on creating its own library database for your music catalog, so if you decide to change anything behind the scenes (i.e. on the folder level), iTunes will almost certainly freak out. And if you're unfortunate enough to have clicked "allow iTunes to manage my music" during the installation, you'll soon notice that your entire library of music has been transformed into a gigantic clusterf*** of files with no rhyme or reason when viewed outside the confines of the iTunes interface. Thanks for that, Apple. Additionally, If you run iTunes on a PC, it is likely the most frustratingly slow program you deal with on a regular basis, which is funny considering the fact that it runs like a champ on most Macs. Wonder why that is?

As for the iTunes Store, let's be frank: why should I pay Apple for music I can get for free? Up until recently, nearly all the music offered on iTunes had DRM security which actually restricted how you could use your own purchased content. So again, why should I give Apple money for things I can get for free and don't include iTunes telling me how I can enjoy things I've actually paid for? Ridiculous! Artists need to get paid, but this method has got to go.

What about the concept of an album as a wholly contained piece of art? Well Apple doesn't think those exists, and songs provided on iTunes must be offered as individual tracks with very few exceptions. So essentially Apple is becoming the largest contributor to the death of the album and the rise of the easy-to-digest, one-track-at-a-time, single-serving of pop drivel.

Somebody, please get ml_ipod to work for the iPhone.

3. Wikipedia

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The concept of Wikipedia is incredible: a database to store the entire breadth of knowledge of humanity in real time. And while Wikipedia has become an extremely useful source for information (provided it isn't controversial), the fact that any and all pages are editable has become a massive source of trouble for both the regulatory bodies governing Wikipedia and the users seeking accurate information.

The first issue that comes to mind is, "Who is making these rules? How are they qualified to decide what's accurate or what's even worthy of a Wikipedia page? Who standardized these processes and who are their allegiances to?"

Beyond that, Wikipedia has essentially replaced the concept of actual research for many people, and while it's convenient, the amount of dubious information on Wikipedia is staggering. Seemingly legit Wikipedia entries on controversial subjects are regularly manipulated by the parties involved in order to change important facts to benefit those parties. So while Wikipedia may be convenient and interesting, nearly every word of "fact" on the site is subject to suspicion.

2. YouTube

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As much time as I've spent over the last few years being entertained by watching people getting hit with things, people falling off of things, and people stapling things to themselves, YouTube is now really starting to show its age. A few years ago, it was a wild, unkempt bastion of user generated content without censorship (or copyright regulation).

It then became the de facto source for archive footage, useful video clips, and clips from any number of video sources. Now that the video content aspect of the internet has become so fragmented in the wake of lawsuits as corporations desperately try to figure out how to control content, YouTube lingers in this uncomfortable stage of its existence where it has become simply a repository for any and all random useless user-generated clips people want to put on the internet.

The result is that it makes sifting through all those videos of people's cats to find content that's actually relevant a totally unbearable chore. Also, I think we can declare YouTube the winner of worst user comments on the Internet. The lights are getting dim, fellas.

1. Twitter   

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[I'm sitting at my computer.] [I'm typing now.] [I just farted.] [Kinda smells now.] [Here's a link to a picture of me sitting at my computer.] [My dog just barked.] [He's a brown dog.] [Oh no he just saw a cat.] [Cats are funny.] [Here's a link to cute cats.] [I feel sleepy.] [Chris Brown is a jerk.] [I just took a 'lil nap.] [Now I'm eating a sandwich.] [The sandwich had gross cheese in it.] [I just barfed.] [Here's a picture of my sammy barf.] ENOUGH ALREADY! Seriously, what is the purpose of this? Self-obsession has reached a new peak with Twitter.

Do people really need to know what I am doing on a minute-to-minute basis? Never mind the fact that this is literally the lowest form of communication on the internet - even instant messages offer more than 140 characters of space to articulate your thoughts - Twitter itself seems to serve no new purpose. If you feel compelled to constantly tell people what you're doing, why don't you just staple a post-it note to your forehead? 

Whatever. I'm gonna go update my Facebook status. They've got like ten times as many people there totally willing to gawk at my cat pictures on there.

What websites do you think are the most useless and overrated?

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