25 Best Websites 2008 by TIME

Inspiration, Showcases

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We have make list of the 25 top websites of year 2008, now mostly website designers make better ideas according to latest trend as we have seen in web 2.0 techniques. We’ve listed the websites from top to bottom, this list is based on nominations by readers and TIME, and judged against a common set of criteria, including standards of web accessibility.

Please post your comment on this list below, or contact us if you have nominations for next year’s list.

1. GasBuddy

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Inquiring minds want to know: Where’s the cheapest gas? GasBuddy can tell you. The site collects real-time prices from some 750,000 volunteer price “spotters,” who send in daily updates from their local stations. With prices varying by up to 50 cents from one station to the next in some cities, it pays to stay informed. A heat map displays where prices are currently the highest (California) and lowest (Wyoming). GasBuddy also shows you how prices have changed over time and can send mobile updates to your phone. Other similar but less comprehensive services include MapQuest’s Gas Prices and Gas Price Watch.

2. Howcast

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There’s a reason no one ever reads the instruction manual. Ho. Hum. That’s why the video how-to site Howcast is such a gem. It breaks from its more staid counterparts, such as Expert Village and eHow, by injecting a necessary dose of humor. Come here to learn “how to make a move on a girl while watching a movie on a couch” and “how to become a saint.” Each video is rated often by thousands of members so you won’t waste bandwidth on the boring ones. We also like WonderHowTo, which neatly indexes and ranks how-to videos from hundreds of other sites.

3. iliketotallyloveit.com

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Social shopping is a buzz phrase you’ll be hearing a lot about soon. To see it in action, head to iliketotallyloveit.com. Shoppers post photos of items they like, then solicit opinions and comments from others. The most popular items bubble to the top, serving as a way to spot trends early. Recent faves have included a pair of limited-edition sunglasses worn by rapper Kanye West and a really cool spork (a spoon/fork). For a more curated view of special products, check out Things I’ve Bought That I Love “things” run the gamut from chocolate to lip gloss.

4. Omiru

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Focused on “real style for real people,” Omiru doesn’t just tell you what the fashion trends are — it helps you figure out what actually looks good on you. High-waisted pants aren’t flattering on most people (in fact, 70% of people polled by Omiru won’t be wearing them this year, even though they’re back in style), but horizontal stripes can be (they don’t make you look fat if they’re narrow). The site recommends dresses for curvy petites and accessories for your little black dress. Sure, tips like these are sprinkled throughout more mainstream fashion sites like Glam and Style, but Omiru’s laser focus on practical fashion advice makes it a don’t-miss.

5. PsychCentral

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It’s hard for many people to talk openly about their mental-health concerns, so it’s especially important to have online resources to rely on. PsychCentral is a good place to start. Visitors can take simple quizzes to get a general sense of whether they might have a problem, then check the “Ask the Therapist” section for answers to questions about all kinds of topics, ranging from borderline personality disorder to infidelity. There’s even a section in which members can rate their personal experiences with prescription drugs. If you want more news and research, visit MentalHelp.net or the government’s more comprehensive National Institute of Mental Health site.

6. TripKick

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Ever spent top dollar on a hotel, only to get stuck in a crummy room? TripKick, which launched in May 2008, solves this dilemma by telling you which floors are best and which rooms to avoid. When we searched for the Hilton Las Vegas, for example, TripKick told us not only which rooms had the best view, but also which were too close to the elevators and noisy vending machines. Travelers can also add their own room ratings. For now, TripKick covers 250 hotels in 12 U.S. cities and it’s adding a new city each month. The site borrows its concept from the airline-seat rating service SeatGuru, which has provided clear maps of the interior of commercial planes for years. Both sites improve your odds of having a truly bon voyage.

7. Wikitravel

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The best travel guides have one thing in common: they’re up to date. That’s why WikiTravel has become the most invaluable travel resource on the Web. While message boards like Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Travel Forum are great for specific questions such as “Should I spend more than a day at Angkor Wat?” and community sites like TripAdvisor are useful for seeing other folks’ photos and reviews, only WikiTravel keeps a concise, current directory of nearly 20,000 destinations. It’s so complete, you’ll be tempted to skip the guidebook altogether.

8. Yahoo! Answers

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Advice is everywhere on the Web, but nowhere is it more accessible than at Yahoo! Answers. Questions are arranged both by topic and what’s most popular (e.g., “Is rinsing your hair with milk good for it?”) and get all sorts of amusing, creative and, occasionally, helpful responses. Contributors compete to boost their rankings by answering the most questions and collecting the most positive feedback on their replies. If you’ve got yet more questions needing answers, visit Ask Metafilter or the newer Try This.

9. Zeer

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This is the kind of site that should have been built years ago. Zeer displays the nutritional labels for every kind of packaged food you can buy, then lets users rate and comment on their favorite items. Wondering whether you should give Doritos Hint of Lime flavored chips a try? At Zeer, 14 out of 20 people give them the thumbs-up and will tell you exactly why. While the USDA’s National Nutrient Database has offered similar information for years, Zeer is so much better designed with a focus on real products instead of hypothetical portions of generic food items that you might actually use it.

10. Afrigadget.com

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There’s a lot of international development news that doesn’t make it onto CNN. So bookmark AfriGadget, a site dedicated to simple, sustainable inventions in Africa. Recent entries have covered efforts to create biodiesel fuel out of local pine nuts in Sierra Leone, and programs to build bicycles out of bamboo in Ghana and Kenya. AfriGadget isn’t updated every day (and sometimes not even once a week), but it offers such distinctive reporting that you won’t want to miss a single post. For other good sites addressing sustainable development in Africa, check out the African Optimist and Timbuktu Chronicles.

11. AskMen.com

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Think of it as Cosmopolitan for men. Beyond the requisite yearly hot-babe-ranking (2008’s “Top 99 Women” is already live), AskMen dishes out provocative tips on sex, dating and relationships, and schools men on everything from office-party survival to the “FAQ on Semen.” Other articles on the site include “10 Signs You’re Whipped” and “Turn a Female Friend into Something More.” Racier than Men’s Health and FHM, AskMen is the go-to site for single guys on the make.

12. ConcreteLoop.com

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You may not notice just how white celebrity-gossip sites like TMZ and PerezHilton really are until you check out ConcreteLoop. Devoted to black celebrities, it regularly features A-listers like Rihanna, Usher, Denzel Washington and Alicia Keys. In addition to the usual paparazzi shots and rumors, you’ll find posts on fashion and politics, as well as tons of comments from ConcreteLoop’s audience of nearly a million regular readers. We also like Bossip for its lower-brow appeal and Nah Right for its choice video clips.

13. Health.com

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Reading about health doesn’t have to be a pill. Unlike most other health sites, WebMD and Revolution Health, which sometimes treat health information like bitter medicine, Health.com tackles even the most serious matters, like heart disease and depression, with a more sympathetic tone. Although it does not delve as thoroughly into science and treatment as the other sites, Health.com does a better job of addressing the related emotional issues. Its section on breast cancer, for example, explores body image and how the disease can affect your sex life. You’ll also find videos of patients who had successful treatment and the doctors who cared for them. Health.com (which is owned by TIME.com’s parent company, Time Inc.) was totally overhauled in May 2008, so if you haven’t visited lately, make sure to circle back. For a newsier approach to wellness, we rely on the Health News section of the New York Times.

14. PopSugar

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PopSugar is a total delight an emporium of celebrity, fashion, beauty and even tech news for young, style-conscious women. Although the site contains all the elements of a conventional women’s magazine, its whimsical, laid-back tone makes it a lot more appealing. Instead of coming across as a condescending know-it-all older sister, PopSugar doles out news and advice like an awesome new best friend. It also has some good customization options: you can pick the avatar who greets you on the home page and also choose from any of 14 alternate home pages in order to zero in on the topics that interest you most — like food (YumSugar), fitness (FitSugar) and gadgets (GeekSugar). Now that’s pretty sweet.

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15. ProFootballTalk

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If you can’t make it through a day without jonesing for sports gossip, head to ProFootballTalk‘s Daily Rumor Mill. The site scours news from TV and the Web (including Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, and the NFL Network), then adds its own highly entertaining (and highly opinionated) spin. “I’m more at liberty to give my opinions” than regular sports-news sites are, notes the site’s often snarky founder, Mike Florio, 43, who posts updates about 20 times a day from his home in Clarksburg, W. Va. If you’re still craving more football, visit Football Outsiders for extreme statistical analysis. Basketball addicts, meanwhile, should check out HoopsHype.

16. Rate My Professors

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Whether you’re deciding between French teachers or you just want to vent about last semester’s lousy history lecturer, Rate My Professors is the place to go. Students can anonymously grade profs on everything from how difficult they are to the clarity of their lectures — and now teachers can add rebuttals of their own. Long since out of school? Then you might get some use out of RateMDs, a similar site that grades medical doctors. Launched in 2007, RateMDs already has more than 500,000 ratings of about 150,000 physicians. Like all reviews, these should be taken with a grain of salt, but both sites give you some good inside information on the professionals who matter most in your life.

17. Serious Eats

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Join foodies for your fill of culinary news, discussions, recipes and restaurant reviews at Serious Eats, an international food blog to which “Molto” Mario Batali sometimes contributes. Whether or not you’re a gastronome, reading about Rome’s bountiful organic markets and the hearty hot dogs of Santiago, Chile, will surprise and delight you. Entertaining and heated discussions flare up about the most mundane food-related minutiae: the best thing to eat when you’re lunching at your office desk; the pros and cons of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. If your interest is specifically big-city dining, check out Savory Cities for terrific videos and chef interviews shot at top restaurants in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle. And for a broader range of consumer reviews, menus and online reservations at eateries around the country, check out BooRah.

18. The Nest

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Here’s a lifestyle site designed for newly wedded yuppie couples. The Nest a clever customer-retention device, brought to you by the creators of the wedding site The Knot covers key topics from design tips for your new home to advice on merging financial assets, to preparations for having a baby. The Nest makes good use of readers’ wisdom. There’s a “casting call” for couples who want to share their personal stories, plus local guides to restaurants, personal trainers and mortgage brokers that the site’s editors cull from submissions.

19. Geni

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For an exercise that’s all about family, researching your genealogy can be an oddly lonesome affair, filled with long hours spent sifting through records and making awkward phone calls to far-flung relatives. But Geni turns tree-building into a collaborative effort: the free site gives you the basic tools for diagramming your ancestry, and it also lets you invite others to contribute. If you’re serious about tracing your lineage, you’ll probably still click on stalwarts like Ancestry.com, Family Search and the USGenWeb Project for their vast digital archives, but Geni makes it easier and more fun than ever to create and share your family tree.

20. MapJack

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Immerse yourself in panoramic views of Yosemite National Park; Chiang Mai, Thailand; and San Francisco using MapJack, a new alternative to Google Street View and Microsoft’s Live Search Maps. MapJack has brighter, sharper photos than the others, and better navigation tools. To start exploring, just click and drag the icon of a person along the map in the bottom half of your browser; the photographic images in the upper portion will automatically refresh. Start-ups like Earthmine and EveryScape are developing similar next-gen maps, but for now, MapJack offers the best preview of the future of digital mapping.

21. Mint

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Can’t afford a personal financial planner? Here’s the next best thing: the free site Mint pulls information from all your online financial records, including your 401(k), bank accounts and credit-card accounts, then neatly graphs your cash flow and expenditures. Mint’s Trends section shows you a pie chart of what you spend and where (on food, travel, shopping, etc.) and suggests money-savers like lower-rate credit cards. The site will even send you mobile alerts to remind you to pay your bills. For a similar service that doubles as a social network where you can share financial goals and tips, check out Geezeo from TheStreet.com.

22. NexTag

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It may be the plainest comparative-shopping site on the Web, but we like NexTag because of its speedy, comprehensive search results and integrated product reviews. Sure, there are plenty of other good comparison sites out there, including BizRate, Shopzilla and Yahoo! Shopping, but we dig NexTag for its no-nonsense approach that’s all about finding you the best deal. And unlike its competitors, NexTag graphs the price history of each product you research, so you can see if prices have gone up or down in recent months.

23. Nymbler

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Choosing a baby name just got more inspired, thanks to an ingenious calculator that uses phonetics to give you fresh ideas. Type in up to six names you like, and Nymbler will suggest dozens of similar-sounding suggestions. When we typed in June, Jada, Jenny, Josie and Jenna, Nymbler came back to us with names like Jasmine, Janie and Jayla. You can save suggested monikers to a favorites list and read about the origin and popularity of each one. If you want to know how common your chosen name has been through history, head over to NameVoyager, which charts the rises and falls of the top 1,000 names since the late 1800s.

24. Picnik

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Anyone can snap a photo. The hard part is editing a crappy digital image and turning it into art. Until now, that’s been too complicated for mere mortals. Good thing you don’t need any special skills to use the free photo-editing tools at Picnik. Aimed at novices, it lets you crop borders, zap red-eye and add a range of special effects like blurring, tinting and heat-mapping to any picture you upload. While FotoFlexer, Photobucket and Photoshop Express all have similar features, only Picnik presents them with such elegant simplicity.

25. Pixelgirl Presents

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Jazz up your Mac, PC or iPhone screen with custom-designed wallpaper from Pixelgirl Presents. The free, high-quality artwork showcased here is submitted by outside creators, who provide links to their own pages for yet more choices. To download images, just click on any site. We also like the more community-oriented Social Wallpapering as well as the vast collection at Customize, which lets you search by color. Got a PC? Then head to WinCustomize for more wallpapers, desktop icons and themed skins for the Windows OS.

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Comments and Discussions

  1. pelfusion, 21 March 2009

    very nice post

  2. Michelle Kicklighter, 22 December 2009

    While this topic can be very difficult for most people, my impression is that there has to be a middle or common ground that we all can find. I do value that you’ve added relevant and intelligent commentary here though. Very much thanks to you!

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