Not sure if you’ve noticed, but there are a lot of websites out there. And the number is increasing exponentially. There were less than 3,000 websites in 1994 (not that most of us had a computer to visit them, anyway), and that number crossed the one billion mark in 2014 – from <3,000 to 1,000,000,000+ in only 20 years. That’s a 33 million percent increase! However, Internet Live Stats places the current number at “only” 952 million – give or take a few million – as many websites are born, live briefly, and then die an anonymous cyberdeath.
How many of those 952 million websites are devoted to cats and cat videos? No one can say for sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say somewhere around 780 million – because cats and cat videos seem to be the main reason why the Internet exists.
The most popular websites in the United States include Google (188 million monthly visitors in 2012), YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Wikipedia. No surprises there. Most people use the Internet to search for stuff, watch stuff, post about the stuff they’re watching and doing, buy stuff, and find out about stuff.
The Internet can be useful. Websites can assist, inform, entertain, and aid. But that doesn’t mean they always do. With roughly a billion sites clogging the arteries of cyberspace, it’s a safe bet that some of them are less than useful, less than helpful, less than entertaining. They run the gamut from annoying to infuriating and worthless to utterly useless.
You know how something can be so ugly it’s cute, or so quiet it’s loud, or so unhip it’s cool? Yeah, the websites here are just useless – full stop, period. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. These are not the websites you’re searching for (and if they are, you need to get out more often).
Just how many useless websites are there? Hard to tell. Some would argue that all websites are useless, but those people are cantankerous kooks. Even if we assume that only 1% of the existing websites are useless (a very generous and woefully low figure), that’s still 10 million. There are so many, and sites like The Useless Web and Pointless let you explore them randomly.
And they will keep you busy forever.
No hidden meanings here. No secret agenda or easter eggs. Purple is a solid purple webpage. That’s it. It’s a pleasing shade of purple, but still.
2. Hey Ho!
You know what would be great? A website that makes an annoying song even more annoying! How awesome would that be?! Hey Ho is that website.
It starts off with an all-white page with “HEEEEEEEEEY!” written across it in black letters, and then redirects you to a black page with “HOOOOOOOOO!” written in white, and then back again, in a never-ending loop as those two words from “Hip Hop Hooray” repeat… forever. Oh, and it’s too loud. Remember how great Naughty by Nature was, and how infinitely repeatable this song is? Me neither.
3. Paint With Donald Trump
The Donald is everywhere these days: republican presidential hopeful, host on Saturday Night Live and as a paintbrush on the aptly named Paint With Donald Trump. He’s not your painting buddy on this site, though. He’s the actual brush. You’re given eight Trump heads across the top. Click on one, and then create a Trumpian version of the Sistine Chapel. Or just screw around. That’s fine, too.
4. Watching Grass Grow
We typically measure excitement against either paint drying or grass growing (and sometimes water boiling). Those two activities are either really boring or very exciting (I can never remember which one). Now, instead of having to find any real grass or – gasp! – having to do any actual painting, you can do it virtually. The internet has saved us once again. Watching Grass Grow allows you to peek in on a lawn in Colorado. Wow!
5. Most Exclusive Website
It’s all about exclusivity, am I right? It’s the reason why we love the roped off section at the club or the back room at the video store (wait… that’s a different reason). Exclusivity online is hard to come by, though. Millions have access to the same sites as you, at the same time. Until now. Enter the Most Exclusive Website on the web. Only ONE person has full access at any given moment. When you’re in the driver’s seat, you have 60 seconds of power and control… to post a comment! People have spent a collective 63 years waiting for their turn. Request a ticket, enter your name, and prepare for fun.
6. Make Everything OK
A button that could do this would be a godsend. While it’s not possible in real life, the digital domain is another story. Make Everything OK does just that: it makes everything okay. Push the button, wait for it to load, and then rest easy knowing everything’s okay.
This one is creepy and scary. Bright colors; a flashing logo in the middle of an otherwise blank page; and a creepy, breathy, slightly accented male voice welcoming you to Zombo.com that getting increasingly excited. He promises that “You can do anything at Zombo-com. Anything at all. The only limit is yourself… Anything is possible at Zombo-com… The unattainable is unknown at Zombo-com.” But the website does nothing. Hold me. I’m frightened.
WARNING: MAY CONTAIN FLASHING IMAGES
I wasn’t kidding about the proliferation of cat videos and sites devoted to cats. They’re taking over the Internet.
Procatinator loads a random cat GIF and matches it to a randomly selected song. Hilarity ensues. Watch, enjoy, better your day. Then click on "Show me another cat" in the top left corner… and start all over again. Useless? More like awe... – I can’t. I just can’t. Look up the word "useless" in the dictionary and it says, "See: Procatinator". True story.
9. The World’s Worst Website Ever
This one needs no explanation, but nor does it serve any useful purpose whatsoever. The World’s Worst Website Ever looks like something from the early days of MySpace (remember MySpace?): crowded, too bright, too busy, poorly designed, and awful color combinations.
10. American Dime
Just that: a single, static image of an American Dime. But here’s where it gets “exciting”… hit refresh on your browser, and it sometimes shows heads and sometimes tails. Woohoo! Let’s get this party started!
Want to feel like you’re falling AND having a bad acid trip? Well, then, you’re in luck: Falling delivers that experience whenever you want or need it. But it doesn’t stop there. It always plays some irritating, trippy, new age “music”. I know, right? What doesn’t this site have?! Oh yeah… a purpose.
12. That's the Finger
Remember 8- and 16-bit video games? They were incredible at the time, but they look ancient by today’s standards. Pixelated and totally lacking in details. But That’s the Finger decided to give you an 8-bit hand AND the ability to make it extend its middle finger. Move the cursor up, and the middle finger goes up as the entire screen turns red. Pull the cursor down, and the middle finger goes down as the index finger goes up… for some reason. How awesome is that? Not much.
13. Toilet Paper
What list of useless websites would be complete without a roll of Toilet Paper? None. That’s how many. What I’m saying is that any list of useless websites must include at least one with toilet paper. That’s just common sense. You can roll the paper up. You can roll the paper down. You can… um… I guess that’s it.
We could go on. But let’s stop. Too much fun all at once is not good for anyone. And these sites promise hours of, well, existing. And being online. That’s something, right?
Useless? More like… no, they’re useless.
Any sites you’d like to add? With millions to choose from, there are many, many more that could’ve made the list. Spoiled for choice. Leave your additions in the comments section below!