I just happened to chance upon PC Mag’s Top 100 Classic Websites of 2008 listing. Very nice and informative list, I must say. The below is a subset of their top 100 – which I personally liked. I am excluding widely used websites like Google services, Yahoo! Mail, IMDB, Amazon, Digg, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Wikipedia, CNet, MediaFire etc. I hope you will like the list. Note that the descriptions are copied from PCMag website – not mine.
1. Looking for a way to keep your obsessive-compulsive blog reading habits under control? Bloglines’s browser-based reader will aggregate all of your feeds into two manageable windows, and also lets users forward along those stories that deserve a second read.
2. Once we found this online instant-messaging aggregator, we realized there was no going back. Meebo gives you AIM, Gchat, Yahoo!, MSN, and more, all from the comfort of your browser.
3. The reigning king of list-making services, Remember The Milk is extremely customizable, so you can make your to-do lists and get your reminders however you like (text message, Twitter, AIM, e-mail, Skype, and on and on).
4. For audio, video, images, and docs, YouConvertIt is a dead-simple way to change the file format into something you can use.
5. Zoho brings full-featured office apps online. Along with the standard word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs, the suite also gives users tools for note taking, wiki creating, project management, and more.
6. ScienceDaily isn’t like other news sites—after all, few have a section called “Fossils & Ruins” (though CNN.com might have one in the form of the Larry King Live updates). From space to nano and all the areas in between, ScienceDaily aggregates and adapts stories from around the Web and the world, leaving no bit of science unexplored.
7. One area of health care not in crisis: self-diagnosis! WebMD and its Symptom Checker are probably the best tools available to budding hypochondriacs and even real sick people to get a handle on what’s eating them (perhaps literally, from the inside out) without resorting to actual medical professionals.
8. There is no excuse for misusing or misspelling words—not if you have an Internet connection, anyhow. This is the free destination on the Web for dictionary searches (you get results from a variety of top-name dictionaries). But that’s not all: It’s packed with other tools, like thesauri, encyclopedias, translators, and much, much more.
9. The fact is, politics is all about spin. The fact is, “spin” is a euphemism for “deception.” The fact is, there’s at least one great site on the Web, one nonpartisan, nonprofit site, that can help you unspin the gibberish that will assault your ears during this year’s U.S. presidential election campaign (and the gibberish that comes from politics in general). The fact is, that site is Fact Check.
10. This site is packed with science and trivia of every sort, from debunking the onion-powered iPod to articles on the history of Beijing’s underground city. But the main strength of How Stuff Works is indeed the articles that live up to its name. This is the place you’ll go if you care to know how GPS works, how your cubicle can make you sick, or even how performance-enhancing drugs work.
11. The coolest site on the Web for how-tos. If you’re looking for a new project, whether it’s how to grow delicious peppers or how to modify your Xbox for rapid-fire cheating in first-person shooters, Instructables is the place to look. Best of all, it’s a DIY site in the sense that anyone can contribute a project.
12. This nonprofit site provides free access to a ton of great content, from live Dead shows to Washington Irving’s Sketch Book. The site’s showcase (and the feature nearest and dearest to our hearts) remains, however, the Wayback Machine, which hosts snapshots of Web sites throughout time—over 85 billion of them.
13. Some words and phrases are just not appropriate for regular reference books or Web sites, but don’t fret: Urban Dictionary can help. From the mundane slang to the most offensive made-up terminology, you’ll find multiple, optional definitions. And you’re likely to learn some new things you didn’t want to know about in the bargain.
14. If you’re addicted to the Food Network TV channel, chances are you’ll love FoodNetwork.com. Tons of quick and easy recipes, cooking tips, and a shopping site that’ll sell you the tools you need to make the meals you want (and the stuff hawked by your favorite FoodNetwork host) add up to a great site.
15. Who can afford to eat out anymore? The rising cost of food doesn’t mean that you can’t eat well, however. It just means you need to learn to cook. An enormous collection of recipes and a vibrant user community make Epicurious your top stop for any meal you want to create yourself.
16. If you dig the science fiction of Iain M. Banks and William Gibson and Ronald Moore’s Battlestar Galactica, if you like science fiction that intersects more with present-day reality and politics than tired old Cold War-era franchises like Star Trek, then this blog’s for you.
17. Got a secret you want to share anonymously? Send it to PostSecret on a home-made postcard (you’ll have to dig around to find the address) and maybe it’ll be posted for the world to see. It’s one of the Internet’s coolest ongoing art projects, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy.
18. While e-books are suddenly a hot business thanks to the Kindle and its competitors, the originators of the e-book idea had something a little more egalitarian in mind: free e-books. Project Gutenberg is a vast collection of works no longer under copyright, free for download in a wide variety of formats.
19. Whether you’re new to an area or just trying to break out of old ruts, if you’re looking for local restaurants, clubs, or stores, Yelp is a great place to start. The site’s made up entirely of user-submitted reviews, so it gives you a real sense of what’s good in your area.
20. Indeed makes online job hunting as painless as a Google search. Simply enter the kind of work you’re looking for and your location, and Indeed will give you matching job postings from across the Web, including listings from job sites like HotJobs and Monster.
21. Celebrating its tenth birthday this November, Digital Photography Review is hands down one of the most influential—and popular—camera sites on the Internet. You’ll find in-depth reviews of all kinds of camera gear, product announcements, and tips from photography pros in the discussion forums.
22. There’s almost nothing you can’t find on craigslist, the premier site for buying used junk, hooking up with used people, renting used apartments, and finding services to use. In fact, the longer you look, the more likely you are to find something that you not only didn’t know existed, but that you wish you could un-know.
23. It’s a truism that the U.S. lags behind Japan when it comes to cool tech like cell phones, laptops, and similar gadgets. If you don’t feel like waiting years for a cool piece of tech to make it to the U.S. and can’t figure out how to order from a Japanese Web site, chances are good that you can find it on Dynamism.
24. We’re sure there was life before Lifehacker, but we’re glad our memories of such a cumbersome, frustrating existence have been mercifully stripped away. The blog’s steady stream of tech-leaning tips and advice just makes life easier.
25. This technology blog is one of the best on the Web at finding cool, free software and Web apps, and at providing walk-through tutorials for them. Whereas some blogs obsess over what’s new, MakeUseOf.com emphasizes what’s good. That’s a big distinction, and one that its readers (including us) appreciate.
26. The Web site for PC Magazine includes everything the magazine has built its name on: hands-on product reviews from our PC Magazine Labs, expert commentary, and breaking tech news. But the Web site also offers features that we can’t stuff into a magazine, like our award-winning product guides, episodes of DL.TV and Cranky Geeks, PCMag Radio podcasts, our Security Watch blog, and so much more.
N.B.: Bit strange to see their own name in their own list, don’t you think?
27. With its breaking news coverage and in-depth reviews, Phone Scoop is one of the best and most comprehensive sources for mobile-tech info on the Web.
N.B.: I personally use www.gsmarena.com – it’s fantastic!
28. TripAdvisor is the best way to scout out a hotel from a thousand miles away before booking your room. Hotels in popular destination spots can have hundreds of reviews, from which you can piece together a fairly accurate picture of the service and accommodations you can expect.
29. Around in various forms since 1994, The Drudge Report breaks important stories like no one around. When Matt Drudge posts about politics, people pay attention.
30. It’s been called “the most influential blog in the world,” and HuffPo’s list of contributors reads like a who’s who in the fields of politics, journalism, and entertainment.