World’s most strongest websites & World’s most powerful websites
1. TROJAN ROOM COFFEEPOT: The Steamiest Webcam Ever
The first successful webcam wasn’t sexy, funny, or even all that interesting. It was a low-resolution camera pointed at a coffeemaker. In 1991, computer scientists at the University of Cambridge were tired of trekking upstairs for a cup of Joe only to find the coffeepot outside the Trojan Room lab empty. They set up a live video feed connected to a local network. When they made the page public, in 1993, it became Internet famous. As traffic swelled, the lab even added a lamp so international visitors could peek in after hours.
By luring millions of visitors, the coffeepot proved that anything can be hypnotic on the web. That opened the floodgates for slightly more engaging live streams: from the voyeuristic JenniCam to feeds of live panda cubs. But by 2001, the coffeepot’s 15 minutes had long passed. Researchers packed up the camera and moved to a new facility. The pot? It sold for $2,300.
2. Amazon: Serving the New Web Order
Amazon has changed the way Americans shop, but its most powerful offering doesn’t come in a box. Over the past few years, Amazon has quietly laid the groundwork for a cloud-computing takeover that could be even more far-reaching.
In 2006, Amazon started leasing out storage space on its massive server farms, saving companies the hassle of setting up expensive in-house systems. Amazon Web Services (AWS), as it’s known, helps some of the world’s biggest businesses run. Netflix uses it to stream billions of hours of video to consumers, while banks rely on AWS to crunch numbers from their massive databases. As Borders can tell you, don’t bet against Amazon’s ability to completely transform an industry.
3. Women in Refrigerators: Savior of Superheroines
In 1999, writer Gail Simone noticed an unsettling trend in comic books: a disproportionate number of female superheroes were being killed, maimed, or depowered, compared with their male counterparts. So she created Women in Refrigerators, a database of heroines who had met untimely demises. The name comes from the Green Lantern’s girlfriend, who was stuffed into a fridge after being murdered by one of his nemeses.
Simone did more than just chronicle these grisly ends. By giving writers the opportunity to respond, she created an important forum for discussing sexism in the art form. The site opened the doors to similar critiques about the disproportionate attacks on gay and lesbian characters. Soon, the phrase “women in refrigerators” became shorthand for problematic depictions of women across pop culture. It also helped Simone become part of the solution. In 2007, she became the first female writer to helm DC’s Wonder Woman in the title’s 66-year history.
4. WebMD: Spawn of a New Affliction
Before the Internet, getting a medical diagnosis required consulting a trained professional. That changed in 1996, when WebMD debuted the Symptom Checker, a catalog of conditions that nervous web browsers could peruse for hours. The problem, of course, is that self-diagnosis isn’t quite the same as visiting someone who owns a stethoscope. As a result, the site fomented a brand-new malady: cyberchondria—Internet-induced hypochondria.
Just how needlessly alarming can the web be? Fewer than 1 in 50,000 people have a brain tumor, but according Psychology Today, enter the word headache into a search engine and you’ll find that 25 percent of the results point to brain tumors as a probable cause. That explains why a 2008 study confirmed that 40 percent of people who use the web to self-diagnose end up suffering increased anxiety.
What makes WebMD stand out from the pack? As The New York Times noted, its click-friendly alarmist tone makes it chum for cyberchondriacs. And the strategy pays—in 2010, the site generated more than $500 million in advertising profit. Great for WebMD. For the sufferer of the common cold? Not so much.
5. Islendingabok: Cousin-Kissing Prevention
As a tiny island nation with just 300,000 residents, Iceland’s gene pool is dangerously shallow; discovering that your hot date is a not-too-distant cousin is a distinct possibility. In 1997, a team that included deCODE Genetics solved the problem with the site Islendingabok.
Citizens enter a potential mate’s name into the Book of Icelanders, and the site parses 1,200 years’ worth of genealogical data to determine how closely related they are. But what if you meet someone at a bar and don’t want to spoil the moment by firing up your laptop? Islendingabok has an app for that. Just tap phones with your prospect, and wait for the all-clear. As the tagline cheerfully advises: “Bump the app before you bump in bed.”
6. Yelp: Where the Peanut Gallery Makes Big Dough
According to a Harvard Business School study, a one-star increase in a restaurant’s Yelp rating boosts the eatery’s profits by five to nine percent.
7. LiveJournal: Keeping Politicians Honest
Russia’s Alexei Navalny can ruin a politician’s career with a single blog post. Known for his bold exposés—including leaking internal documents from crooked state-run companies—Navalny’s incendiary writing helped spark the biggest antigovernment protests Russia has seen in years. Just as the Drudge Report rocked American politics by picking up the Monica Lewinsky scandal before mainstream outlets would touch it, Navalny will do whatever it takes to keep Moscow’s elite honest. What’s surprising is his weapon of choice: LiveJournal.
In the U.S., the online diary site is best remembered as a cache of bad poetry and Star Trek fan fiction. But in Russia, where the nickname for the site, ZheZhe, doubles as the word for blogging, it’s a vital broadcast system. Thirty-five million people have accounts, including celebrities, politicians, and even Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and it’s seen as one of the few places where citizens and journalists can publish without censorship. Unfortunately, all that free speech has hurt Navalny. After four years of rabble-rousing, the government slapped him with trumped-up embezzlement charges, the legality of which is no doubt being debated on LiveJournal.
8. Pets.com: Asserting the Sock Puppet’s Cultural Dominance
Pets.com was literally flying high on November 25, 1999. A 36-foot balloon version of the site’s famous sock-puppet dog mascot soared over New York City in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A few months later, the company would rake in $82.5 million in an initial public offering.
The sock puppet—voiced by Michael Ian Black—cemented its status as a pop culture icon by appearing in a $25 million Super Bowl ad. The puppet was interviewed by People and appeared on Good Morning America. When Pets.com began offering sock puppets, it sold 10,000 in the first week, more than all its pet-related products.
That fact alone should have raised red flags. No ad campaign could fix Pets.com’s unsustainable business model, which required shipping heavy bags of food at huge losses. This strategy led to $62 million in losses in 1999. Despite partnering with Amazon, the site had to be put to sleep in November 2000.
“The only thing I ended up with out of that investment is a sock puppet,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told Vanity Fair. And the rest of the Internet-commerce industry? It learned that the value of having a catchy mascot is second only to having a solid business model. As for the puppet, the critter now serves as the mascot for 1-800-BarNone, a Michigan-based car loan company for drivers with bad credit. BarNone’s slogan: “Everyone deserves a second chance.”
9. Slashdot: Even What Kills You Makes You Stronger
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, long before Reddit unearthed its first meme, Slashdot was the center of the nerd universe. The collection of tech news, opinion, and inside jokes was required reading for geeks, who flocked to any site Slashdot endorsed with a link.
Unfortunately, these plugs were a catch-22 for burgeoning sites. Slashdot’s vast audience was so enthusiastic that it flooded and crashed target sites’ servers. Users even coined the term “Slashdotted” to describe these outages.
Paradoxically, the durability of today’s sites is a direct result of the “Slashdot Effect.” Programmers knew they needed more robust sites to survive Slashdot’s high-volume love, so they invested in improving software, caches, and servers to handle large quantities of traffic, making great websites better and harder to crash.
10. 4Chan: Everything Good and Bad on the Web
You can’t click on too many sites without running into a troll, the folk devils of the Internet who live to spout mean-spirited nonsense. If you want to trace the behavior back to its source, there’s only one place to look: 4chan. When 15-year-old Christopher “Moot” Poole (pictured) started a seemingly innocent anime fan board in 2003, he didn’t realize he was opening the web version of Pandora’s box. 4chan quickly grew into one of the darkest corners of the web thanks to its anarchic “/b/” section, where anonymity gave rise to a culture of bullying and harassment.
But strangely, even as 4chan has grown as a staging ground for flame wars, it’s also been a hive of positivity. The site incubated many of the web’s silliest memes, including Lolcats and Rickrolling. 4chan’s most powerful legacy, however, is the hacktivist collective Anonymous. The group first organized in the mid-2000s to campaign against Scientology, but today the masked hackers often rally around social causes, taking down government websites to protest censorship or hounding animal abusers.