The 3rd Annual 20 Worst People, Places, And Things On The Internet For 2002

20) Celebrity Web Sites:: I’m so tired of celebrity websites. In fact, I’ve yet to ever see a really good one. They tend to be boring and sparsely updated and no one would ever even look at these pages if their owners weren’t famous. Oh look, the celebrity likes to play video games, ooh they went to a convention, whoop-di-doo! They’re just like us — except they believe the tedious details of their lives are worth putting up on a website for the amusement of the “little people.”

19) Identity Theft:: A huge: identity theft ring: was just busted in New York after they stole more than 2 and 1/2 million dollars from over 30k people. Personally, I’m surprised we don’t see a lot more of this sort of thing. Social security numbers? They’re on your driver’s license in many states. Your birthday? Your friends probably all know it from ICQ. Your bank account and credit card info? If you buy something online or even a pizza, there are plenty of people with access to it. Look for this one to rocket up the charts next year as identity theft becomes more common.

18) Blinking Or Flashing Banner Ads:: Most people don’t mind banner ads because they’re generally not obtrusive. But flashing banner ads grind on everyones nerves. Keep the neon signs in Vegas and spare the net these blinding annoyances.

17) Anti-Muslim Sentiment On The Web:: There is a big difference between “radical Islamists”, terrorists, and the people who support them and most Muslims. I enjoy flash videos, jokes, etc at the expense of people like Saddam Hussein and terrorists as much as anyone. But, I don’t want to hear about “towel heads”, “sand n*ggers”, or nuking the whole Middle-East, etc. Especially not from any of my fellow Americans. We’re a country founded by people seeking religious freedom and we should be the last people to aim indiscriminate attacks at the members of any religion — well except for Scientology — screw those guys.

16) Conspiracy Websites:: Maybe it’s because there is a global war on terrorism, but the number of conspiracy theory websites have been soaring. We’ve heard that 4000 Jews didn’t go to the WTC on 9/11, that the Mossad planned 9/11, the Bush administration planned 9/11, the Pentagon was hit by a truck bomb not a plane, that the Bush administration had Paul Wellstone killed, the GOP rigged the 2002 elections, etc, etc, etc. I’ve relentlessly made fun of these conspiracy nuts in our: ACPOTI: section but the truth is that the number of kooks on the web seems to be growing and it’ll probably get worse before it gets better.

15) Blogger:: Have you ever heard that old saying, “make a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door?” Well, in their own way,: Blogger: made a “better mousetrap”. They made creating your own website and getting it hosted so quick and simple that anyone could do it. Then as the whole “world was beating a path to their door” they let it all slip away. Horrible technical problems, non-existent technical support, and grindingly slow hosting became the rule with their service, not the exception. The people who revolutionized creating your own website and inspired terms like “blogs”, “blogging”, “blogosphere”, etc, have turned blogger into the “Geocities” of their industry. Now Blogger is only for amateurs to cut their teeth on before they move on to better digs. That’s sad…

14) I don’t know who popularized this incredibly disgusting web page with a picture of some guy’s naked ass and horribly deformed anus, but they should be beaten with a nine iron until they talk in an Al Gore style monotone for the rest of their lives. I could provide a link to this page or worse yet, trick you into going there like many people do on forums and other websites, but that would be unconscionable. Take my word for it — trust me — you don’t want to see this website.

13) Preventing Deep Linking:: Every so often some annoying group of corporate tools who don’t know anything about the web get in a huff because someone “deep links” their web page (links their web site but not the main page). Then they usually throw up some ridiculous statement banning deep linking on their web pages and trot out their lawyers to toss off some meaningless threats. I have some advice for these people — shut-up and be happy about the traffic.

12) Hate Sites:: It’s no big surprise that there are white power and Nazi sites out there but there also seems to be a rise in the number of pro-terrorist web pages as well. Half the time you can’t tell the difference between the pro-Osama and pro-Hitler sites — well at least as long as they’re talking about Jews. Some of these groups and web sites have even started to team up. For example, David Duke has been published in the Saudi run Arab News and “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” which is an anti-Jewish forgery that was made popular by the Nazis has shown up on pro-terrorist Muslim websites. But when an ignorant piece of white power trash and an al-Queda loving terrorist wannabe start talking together on the web, what must they be thinking? Probably, “I’ll kill him last.” There’s more info on these pages in our: ACPOTI: section.

11) Paid Subscriptions:: Nobody wants to pay for content on the web — especially when you can probably find similar content in a half dozen different places for free. To the best of my knowledge, there has yet to ever be a successful instance of a “pay to read” website on the net and I doubt if there is going to be one anytime soon.

10) Pop-Ups:: Two years ago pop-ups were the most annoying type of ad out there but now they’re just one of the pack. But while the pop-up has been around for a while, it’s still deserves to be ranked. Especially the pop-ups that open another pop-up when you close it, which in turn opens another pop-up when you close it, etc, etc, until your browser crashes or someone teaches you how to use the Ctrl/W key to close pop-ups quickly.

9) Web Pages Run By Pedophiles:: The web is full of “boy love” and pedophile pages that prey on children. I’ve even written about: one of them: myself. You’d think that these sorts of pages would be almost non-existent. I mean child molesting is almost universally taboo and it’s illegal everywhere from Budapest to Bermuda but yet and still these pages thrive. I know for a fact that there are law enforcement agencies out there looking these sites over but where’s the action?

8) Gator:: I can hardly install a piece of software without the annoying “Gator” software being piggybacked on to my computer somehow. I hate that spyware, I hate that Gator logo, and I hate the sneaky way they try to get on your computer. The people who created and marketed this piece of trash should be publicly flogged for the good of the internet.

7) Messenger Spam:: All the net needed was one more way to deliver spam. Yes, as if getting spam in our email and over instant messenger wasn’t enough, now we can simply have messages: pop-up on our computers: out of the blue. Since I already suggested public flogging for the Gator guys, I’ll have to suggest a good Singapore caning for the people that came up with this type of spamming. But, that probably isn’t really necessary since you almost have to think that there is a special place in hell reserved for anyone who comes up with a new type of spam.

6) Nigerian Scam Emails:: If you went by your email you’d have to think that Nigeria was inhabited by nothing but obscenely rich people willing to share their money with the first person they ran across on the internet. I used to get one of these emails every 2 or 3 weeks but now I get multiple: Nigerian Scam: emails daily. I guess this gives the people of Nigeria something to do when they’re not rioting over the Miss World Contest.

5) Porn Dialers:: Let’s face it, a lot of people like to look at porn when they’re on the net. That’s no big surprise — but imagine that you’re looking at a few porn sites and then a month later — you get a $500 phone bill. It seems that a porn dialer was downloading a feed from the: nation of Chad: at $7.31 a minute without your knowledge. Remember that video you watched? Well the phone company remembers too and they want their money. This is another one of things that has been around for a while but is becoming more common. Watch yourself.

4) No Money On The Web:: Three years ago if you had 10,000 daily readers you could make a living off of the net. There were people making $4 per 1000 impressions off of banner ads back then — but now? Unless you’re Yahoo or Ebay the web is for all intents and purposes a labor of love. Maybe it’ll turn around when the economy really starts growing rapidly again but I wouldn’t advise holding your breath.

3) Spyware:: Ah,: Spyware: — just what the net was clamoring for. Software loaded on your computer without your knowledge that can be used to track your every movement on the web for the benefit of some corporate toady who wants to study you like a lab rat. What’s not to love?

2) Interstitials:: There’s nothing I love better than some slow-moving spaceship, car, or robot that struts across the screen, blocking the content I’m trying to read while I look for the awkwardly placed “close” button. It’s almost as if some marketing executive out there tried to come up with the most grindingly annoying type of ad humanly imaginable. I’m not sure where the ad executives go from here. Maybe they could somehow find a way to actually poke you in the eye through the screen but that’s about what it would take to beat: interstitials: in the irritating ad department.

1) Spam:: What list of annoyances on the net would be complete without spam? How bad is it? I work for an internet wholesaler and we literally block 85% of the email going to some of our client ISPs as spam — and that’s just what we catch. Personally, I have 5 email accounts, and nary a day passes that I don’t have Nigerians offering to make me rich, girls who want to show me their naked pictures, multi-level marketing scams, and people who apparently just want to say “hi” sending me email. Maybe someday, someway, our technology will become effective enough to completely shut-down the spammers. But until then, we’ll just have to bear it.

**This entire article is an opinion piece. I make no claims as to the factual accuracy of this article. Well, at least that’s what I’ll say in court if someone who made the list this year decides to sue me — John Hawkins**

If you like this article, you can read last year’s version right: here.

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