Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Top Ten Websites 2003

A bit less than half a lifetime ago, I started my first "job": writing consumer reviews for at a few pence a pop (and other supplementary, miniscule rewards) to fund the obsessive DVD boxset collecting that was my primary preoccupation in life.

Being under 18, I was technically too young to be earning money through the site, but that didn't stop me. I just lied about my date of birth on my profile and assumed my writing would be mature enough to convince the grown-ups that I was one of them.

See if you can spot the telltale signs that this ranking of websites from the Victorian internet was penned by a teenage virgin. What's depressing is how much still applies, at least on a thematic level. Includes [explanatory notes] and updates about how those sites are getting on today.

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 Top Ten Websites 

anonymous [They eventually deleted my account, but not the content. Not because I was underage, but because they discovered I'd created a load of fake profiles to click my reviews and scam me some extra boxset earnings. I came back with a new profile, behaved, and became a pillar of the community for the next four years]

02.08.2003 23:14

Very helpful

Okay, possibly in a break with tradition my favourite websites are not ones filled with Flash animations of badly drawn people getting run over and shot, as I mainly use the internet to get information about things I want to buy, then find a cheap website with the things to buy which I then buy. Straightforward.

In reverse order, and missing out all that http://www. stuff, here is my (interesting/deadly boring and unhealthily sci-fi controlled - delete as appropriate) life. The reverse order is a last-ditch attempt to create some tension to combat the inane but honest repetetiveness [sic] of some of this:

10. 80s nostalgia websites

Whenever I'm bored and on the internet, waiting for Kazaa to semi-legally download a Farscape episode [Might want to check that legality], sites such as provide some laughs and some good old blast-from-the-past forgotten youth, such as the poor and badly-received Star Wars Droids cartoon, which I liked, and the acclaimed Thundercats, which I loved. Can't beat a bit of 80s nostalgia... exscept [sic] that you can, and that's why this isn't at number 1. Oh yeah.

I'm looking for nostalgia of nostalgia, not new things!

9. Fan Fiction / Spoofs

"Of things I like" should be added. I enjoy chancing upon a homosexual or bad taste parody of Star Trek [So relieved about that "or" ], or seeing someone's comic strip, but not as much as I like buying things.


An unofficial website dedicated to the world of sci-fi adventure series Stargate SG-1 and the Stargate "family", which currently consists of 1 film, a rubbish animated spin-off for kids and a spin-off that will probably be ace but hasn't come out yet. There are also links to other sci-fi series, and each episode has been individually rated. Best place for daily news on the show.

I expected it would still be around, but I was expecting to scoff more at the deterioration of its "daily news." Keeping track of all the one-time guest performers across a 350+ episode franchise is keeping them busy.


An unbelievably detailed and useful resource for the world of Blizzard's Diablo roleplaying, kill-em-up game, the humorous articles on things such as "top ten monsters" and "top ten times you can tell you've played Diablo II too much" provide an incentive for me to explore more of the game than I can usually be bothered to after so long. Flux, he's a funny guy.



I don't buy as many CDs nowadays, but when I did this was a great place to shop. Simple and sans pictures or anything like that, it just has words, a huge selection of CDs and import singles are available, sometimes at low prices. [Actually, it was the only site I could find that accepted cheques, since I was too young to have a debit card account]


I love to keep up to date with news about my favourite programme, the sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf. The website has plenty of functions, including a bulletin board where the people know a scary amount about everything, but the news on DVDs, BBC schedules and production on the upcoming movie (film, sorry) are the reason [sic] I'm always checking back. [Misguided anticipation about "the upcoming movie" charmingly dates all Red Dwarf discussions of the early '00s]

Still plenty going on there.
Though these days I prefer G&T's unofficial impoliteness


Wow, that's this place! A way to make money primarily for me, and also to find peoples' opinions on stuff I'd like to buy. Sound familiar?

All fourth-best things must come to an end

3. Useful information on programmes I like

Gateworld and fall into this category, but this is to cover those less spectacular websites that can prove useful on single occasions when I need to know what a guest actor in Stargate played in Deep Space Nine, or what half of the jokes in Family Guy (great show) are referencing [I don't like some of these shows any more]. I salute you, often-useful and ever-present fan sites!


Obviously only because my main purchases are DVDs and DVD sets, this is my favourite place to buy them new. Prices are low (shops are catching up now though, at last) and the website's very easy to navigate, and looks nice. They need to lower their DS9 boxset prices though! [My mum reluctantly let me use her credit card when I "needed" it for these essentials]



Good ol' reliable eBay, where would I be without it? probably richer due to less temptation, but I wouldn't have the constant joys of a yellow Jiffy bag coming to the door on the hand of a postman on some Saturdays, bearing comedy names I make for kicks followed by my real address in thick black marker pen [I don't imagine I really did this, I'm probably lying to show off. They'd see my name on the cheques]. The great thing about eBay is that as well as buying scrubby second hand stuff, you can sell your own, even scrubbier stuff too! Sometimes the stuff's new as well. Great site. [I pretended to be 18 on eBay too, selling my old stuff to get funds for new stuff and selling ***NEW & SEALED*** boxsets purchased from cheaper sites at profit margins that you wouldn't think would be worth all those trips to the post office]

So, you're a generic retailer now? You've changed.

So there you have it, now you've exposed my shallow existence. The only consolation is that I wasn't sponsored to mention any of those websites, and my brother can get lost if he thinks I'll mention WWW.GEOCITIES.COM/NICEANDRANDOM [Holy shit, I was writing shaggy dog SEO articles building to a call-to-action link at 17! It's obviously a calling]

Please don't go on it, it's rubbish. [Except I don't usually include that part when I'm writing for clients]

I don't see what's so "random" about it, bruv

What were your top ten websites 2003? Apart from those types of websites, obviously. I wasn't old enough to be looking at those and would never lie to a website about my age.


  1. Nice to see you were a shill at 17 for 50p or whatever you got. Minus points for a list of top 10 websites when two of the entries didn't have any websites in them.

    And you missed a [sic] in point 4.

    I've gone into my e-mail accounts and had a look to see what sites I signed up to in 2003 (note: the new Hotmail design is awful and takes for ever to load anything).

    There's apparently only five:
    - a forum dedicated to my favourite football team
    - a cricket forum
    - IMDB (a useful website to this day)
    - DiaryLand (don't remember this, but my username and password are in plain text.. and they still work! I don't seem to have set up a profile or made any entries, but I do have three buddies. Two don't have any entries either but one does... no idea who that person is. Strangely, people still seem to use this. Beware though, you may need a super computer to access the site: "800x600 and IE 4.0+ work best here")
    - CashSurfers (don't remember this, seems to be a badly designed [last updated in 2003?] bingo website -- while you were writing articles, I was trying to win bingo for money?)

    The highlight of my 2002 registrations was -- apparently on Sep 19 at 4.40pm I was feeling 'cuddly'. Reason: "I'm a good hugger".

    In 2001, I signed up for a games website (now blocked because of malware) with the password 'mingeoff'. I thought that would be a one off (don't remember using it), but I found a second site that I also used that password for. Wow.

    One of my first forays into web design:

    I had a look into my main e-mails. A rejection letter from a cruise company saying I had to be 18 to work for them, someone e-mailing me some Britney Spears wallpapers (let me know if you want me to forward that on) and a newsletter from this site:

    1. 50p??? I think this was still in the glory days of 10p, plus 3p per registered read and £1.50 per crown. It wasn't long before they removed the 10p and you only got paid for reads and crowns. But by that time I was the Music category guide and could non-humbly award myself crowns.

      Peoples' still looks correct to me, despite the illogic, so I didn't catch it. There goes my proofreading career.

      Anyway, Cranis Scrants' site talks about his "top 5 mum's," which is both bad grammar and weird. Probably a good thing the images haven't survived.

  2. It took some pointless detective work, but I think I've found my earliest dooyoo review, written when I was 14.

    This seems the most likely of the mid-2000 anonymous reviews to be mine, anyway. I've backtracked from some more articulate Offspring album reviews from a few months later that are definitely mine, and I remember that my first "review" was a brief write-up of Sonic Adventure, despite not having any interest in the game and not having played beyond the first level, only hearing about it from my brothers.

    Either I hadn't discovered the site's search function yet or I thought that writing about something popular would get more reads, before realising my destiny lay in niche. Either way, enjoy my first ever half-hearted work-from-home content:

    Sonic Adventure (DC)

    01.07.2000 17:08

    Probably the pilot game of the Dreamcast [Knowledgeable from the onset], Sonic Adventure is by far one of my favourite games. [Bloody liar!] The graphics are incredible as is the sheer speed of the game, and there's a great story. ['Great' count: 1]

    You can play as many characters which is great [2], and each one has a different story and original levels. Sonic's game has the most levels, while Big the Cat's levels revolve around fishing and can get tedious. The levels incorporate many types of game, most notably driving games [Don't need any other examples], and are very fast paced [You already said that].

    The music is great [3], as are the graphics [That's those subjects dealt with]. This is certainly going to be a hard game to beat, and I only hope the upcoming Sonic Adventure 2 manages to improve on an almost flawless game. [Have I hit the minimum word count yet?]

    Very helpful
    (Rating) [Those early 2000 dooyooers had no standards]

    1. So sort of, in a way, on and off, I've been a freelance internet writer for over 16 years.

      I've been a freelance internet writer FOR MOST OF MY LIFE.