Worst Over-The-Top Websites of 2011
As I've said in previous years, "An "Over-The-Top" website is a lot like pornography — you know it when you see it. Over-The-Top sites generally deal with philosophy, religion, politics, end times, etc., but they're generally not mainstream."
Initially, I planned to go through my articles Web Design Checklist 1: 165 Mortal Sins and Web Design Checklist 2: 83 Potential Mortal Sins and mark down which mistakes each site made. The scope of the project was too great. This list contains two selections and they are marked as "Bonus: Does your website make any of the mistakes made by XYZ.com?"
Why don't website owners see how bad their sites look to the world? I suspect the owners of Over-The-Top Websites are like parents. They look at their child and see nothing but beauty. Prepare to be overwhelmed by all the following beauty.
1. Pombreden's Pomeranians
Submitter's comments: I count:
- Long, incoherent "splash" (?) page.
- Big "SALE" GIFs and a credit card logo stripe, but no indication of what they're selling.
- Four items on the "sitemap" don't link to anything (Our Show Pictures Our Champions, About Us, Visit Our Chapel Room).
- For no apparent reason, the "family photo" at the top of the sitemap page looks startlingly like a Photoshop construction.
- The "Home" page linked to on the sitemap has no text on it whatsoever.
- The Home page also has a "Home" link, except this one points back to the sitemap.
- Largely unidirectional navigation (nothing links back up the tree).
- Inconsistent page designs.
- The "Designs by Bev" image prominently displayed at the bottom of each page sometimes isn't actually a valid mailto: href (SiteMap), and sometimes causes a popup window.
- One confused man from Mars.
- Did I mention the sparkling?
The music is catchy, though! And it's in the WAV format – how considerate of them!
Vincent Flanders' comments: Those who thought my initial reaction to this site was "Jesus Christ!" were right. If the flamboyant Liberace were alive today and he looked at this website, he'd scream, "Stop it right now. There's too much sparkling going on."
I thought about putting this site in with The Worst Websites of 2011, but it's so excessively designed I ended up placing it in this category.
For the life of me, I don't get the use of the Standard White Jesus everywhere. The Jesus Of This Site is not 5'3" tall and doesn't weigh 110 pounds, which is what the archaeological evidence suggests for the real Jesus. I have an iPhone app I call My Personal Black Jesus and he dispenses wisdom each morning, but it's OK to have Jesus on an iPhone app—and he's on lots of them—but he doesn't belong on a site for dogs. Hell, the Mormons don't have a sparkly Jesus on their home page and they're a religion. The Baptists don't have him either. There's a point here.
I also don't understand how these people can look at their site and think, "This design is wonderful." They need to go to their favorite search engine and key in "inspirational websites." Look at the results and you'll see there isn't a single inspirational website that looks like this. None.
Oh. I suspect the site is illegally using sound files. I guess they didn't read my article Why You Can't Use Music On Your Website.
My favorite page is the Toy Pomeranian Breeder page. If you somehow accidentally ended up on this page, the "Welcome Pombreden's Adults for Sale" logo might make you think you stumbled upon a human trafficking website.
Other comments #1: Wow. I never thought it was possible to produce a website so thoroughly lacking in both of the items it should be trying so hard to display: reverence and business savvy.
Other comments #2: Note that at the bottom of the home page it explains that they are having to "rebuild" their site because of hosting issues. To quote: "If you know our site, you will know the work that will be involved getting things back to the norm again."
Also, there is an issue with horizontal scrolling on some pages. There are totally unrelated page themes, animated GIFs (I counted nine on one page) and oh, the sparkles…
Other comments #3: Render unto God that which is God's and render under to Pomeranians that which licketh his own xxxxs. Or, in less Biblical terms, business should be business and personal belief personal—and the two should not be mixed. (Unless one is more interested in proving a point than making a decent profit.)
2. Rainbow Primates
Submitter's comments: This piece of crap has been around in various obnoxious forms since 2005. It's no better six years later.
Vincent Flanders' comments: This site is so very wrong—aesthetically, morally, spiritually, etc
As the home page loads, you're greeted with—I kid you not—the theme song from the TV show The Monkees. Looks like someone didn't read my article, Why You Can't Use Music On Your Site. I love that the home page TITLE tag is “Blank.” I wish the site were, too.
If I ever want my daughter to never talk to me again, I'll send her the link to this site. She seriously considered becoming a primatologist and simply viewing this site would cause her to fall to the floor in a paroxysm of revulsion and disgust.
Other comments: Gah! There's even a trailing cursor!
But then, I suppose the people they are selling to are fluffy minded enough to think that's cool. A monkey is not a pet to buy on a whim.
3. Geral W. Sosbee vs FBI
Submitter's comments: Long first page with a jumble of sections and paragraphs meaning God-knows-what? No discernible navigation scheme? No discernable layout? Various fonts and colors used at whim? Many content pages different from each other? Lack of focus? Animations? Yes to all that and more!
Vincent Flanders' comments #1: In a battle between Sosbee and the FBI, I'm putting my money on the FBI. Some people call this type of website a loon website. I would classify it as an Over-the-Top Website.
The definition of an "Over the Top" industry is just like the definition of pornography — you know it when you see it. Over the Top sites generally deal with philosophy, religion, politics, end times, etc., but they're generally not mainstream.
My favorite part of the home page is the graphic that says, "The fbi and cia regularly hack this site, deleting material or intentionally misspelling and changing words…" Damn. I wish I'd thought of that excuse when I screw up and delete something..
Even if Sosbee is 100% correct, no one is going to believe him because his site looks like it was created by someone with ADHD. And I know a thing or two about that.
Other comments: When I saw this site, all I could think of was this Woody Woodpecker laugh in the background…
Geral, himself, commented: Well Mr. Flanders—you have maliciously aligned with the losing party, the serial killers of the fbi; in the fbi's desperation to stop my revelations of their crimes they have chosen you as their conduit for absurd and irrelevant attacks. best Wishes. geral sosbee
Vincent Flanders' comments #2: I told some of my friends what you wrote and they rolled on the floor and laughed—you know the rest of the phrase. Dude. If there's anyone the FBI would be less inclined to choose to do ANYTHING for them, it's me. There's no level of desperation that can be imagined for them to need my services.
4. Global Economics in Perspective
Vincent Flanders' comments: It's a classic example of an Over-The-Top Website. Commenting further would be a waste of my time and your time. The site can only be saved by nuking it.
Other comments #1: The biggest problem with this site, aside from the tiny text, poor contrast and disorganized page layout is this: the intent of the site is not readily apparent, even after I destroy my eyes and brain a little by just trying to read some of it. Charts, statistics and long-winded statements are meaningless without some broader context.
At least "Historian of the Future" (see #10 below) was amusing. This site is not.
Other comments #2: I'm looking for the alien theories and cannot find them. They have to be there somewhere…
5. Dreams of the Great Earth Changes
Submitter's comments: Here's a really bad site.
Vincent Flanders' comments: This is a really bad Over-the-top Website. that looks like it came out of 1997. What else do I need to say?
Other comments #1: This site is so bad and reflects such aimlessness and ineptitude on the part of its author that I am forced to simply laugh and leave <chuckle>.
Other comments #2: Over the top and down the other side. You gotta love a site that quotes wiki.
Other comments #3: GreatDreams.com? Shouldn't that actually be "BadDreams.com"?
- Bonus: Does your website make any of the mistakes made by Dreams of the Great Earth Changes? (Click for list.)
6. Jeff Rense Program
Submitter's comments: Whaaaattt???? Hopefully anyone checking this out is not looking for anything specific. Good luck finding it in this lifetime.
Vincent Flanders' comments: When I went to this site I said, "Gee. I think I've used this site before. The giveaway was the photo of Jeff Rense and his amazing hair. I checked and, of course, I had used it as the Daily Sucker on August 14, 2008. Since the site is so spectacularly bad, I thought it made the list of the Worst Websites of 2008. Nope. Well, I think I can make up for that lapse in judgment. It's #6 in 2011.
It took a long time to find any subpages—most links that I found were to other sites—but the subpage I found looked just fine. Otherwise, what I said in 2008 is still valid—with the addition that a lot of the text is harder to read. That might not be a bad thing.
7. Gordon Wayne Watts Official Research Page
It’s a toned-down version of your average Over-The-Top Website. It lacks the gaudy colors and the violently moving animated GIFs that OTTWs have. Then there’s the music.
Other comments: Everyone likes a little recognition for their efforts and an "attaboy" once or twice in life. Gordon-what's-his-name lists people with names similar to his own just to let us know he's not one of them. Most people let their work speak for them without counters on their pages and usually without their real names.
This is a good example of what happens when a website is not organized with a regular page navigation system from the start—you get complete chaos. Unfortunately, some site building tools include a Page Navigation Bar, also referred to as sitemaps, that allow the owner to organize web page links vertically or horizontally.
A vertical page navigation system works if there are only a few pages but they always throw the pages off balance. A horizontal page navigation bar works alright if there is only one horizontal row of pagelinks. It's much simpler to just build a horizontal navigation system using text boxes of equal size and then doing a copy of the master and pasting it on every page. Pagelink navigation introduces and forces a certain level of discipline into a website.
8. TNT Events
The most important SEO element—as far as anyone can determine—is the text appearing in the home page’s TITLE tag. Unfortunately, this site’s TITLE tag is “index.” Not very helpful.
The problem with using dates on your pages is that people forget to update their site and everyone starts thinking, “These folks are lazy.” Not the impression you want to make. Speaking of dates, Mr. Bottles, the #2 Worst Business Web Site of 2009 proudly states “Last Updated 1/22/10″ on their home page. (Note: It has been changed.)
The mouseover events are just plain scary. You have to see them for yourself.
You can tell the pros from the amateurs by their use of color. TNT’s use of color is atrocious. On the other hand, CSS-Tricks uses a similar color scheme, but it looks fine.
Other comments #1: I was able to escape before any permanent damage occurred, though I did temporarily (I hope) lose the ability to compose and spell correctly. This is one of those sites that makes me think we ought to receive some form of hazardous duty pay for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Sure, we were warned that visiting is purely voluntary, but we should get something for psychic battery. Thank goodness I still have my soothing surfcams page for therapy.
Other comments #2: I thought I might be able to read that block of text on the right better if I highlighted it. When I tried to, it vanished! I'll have to figure out how to do that with my legal fine print.
Other comments #3: Besides the poor spelling/grammar, garish colours, wacked-out mouseovers, etc., I was struck by two things: the outrageously wide layout (over 1300 pixels! [I typically keep my browser window a bit over 1000 pixels wide which works for virtually all sites]) and the incongruity of waving the American flag on a site hosted in Canada.
9. Bill O'Neill – Bucks County's “Voice of Reason”
Submitter's comments: This site has to be the most visually offensive, color intensive and mind-blowingly ego-centric website that I have ever seen!
This is more than a rant site, but there is no evident means to respond to his thoughts and rants, except for comments—and they appear to be disconnected. There is no email address, nor any phone number or address for snail mail.
He just lets it all hang out and evidently doesn't seem to notice that the very design and color of the text will turn people off!
Anyhow, despite some obvious problems in communications, this website is the most visually jarring one I have seen in a very long time. Maybe you and yours will agree. I nominate it for the worst set of web pages in the new decade and hope we do not see any others that are worse! This site would seem very hard to beat to the bottom of the pile.
Vincent Flanders' comments: It took a bit of time to find out what political position he wanted. I noticed he lost and was considering running for the U.S. House of Representatives. With a website as horrible as the one he has, he probably won't get far. We could try and politely help him figure it out, but it seems that politeness is not going to work. We need to bring in the big guns—an inspirational message from my favorite preacher—the late, great Sam Kinison. (The link is TOTALLY NSFW. Instead of Sam's solution to World Hunger, imagine he's saying the following using the same tone of voice and decibel level):
If you want to become a $#%#$ congressman, make your $#%#$ website look like it belongs to a $#%#$ congressman! Go to the Congress Directory. Choose any $#%#$ congressman—here's one I chose at random! Make your $#%#$ website look like his, %%#@5@5%!
OK, now go to YouTube, watch Sam in action and substitute the words above. Remember. NSFW. Here's the link.
Here are some of the web design issues your site might have in common with Bill O'Neil:
I just have to point out that I ran his HTML through the W3C validator and it was totally valid.
10."Websites We Don't Even…"
Vincent Flanders' comments: The Huffington Post recently ran the article 14 Websites We Don't Even… Thanks to author Craig Malamut for referencing and linking to Web Pages That Suck. Eight of the 14 sites were originally featured on WPTS and Malamut knows how to pick the worst of my worst. In fact, he has a very good eye for very bad web design and his commentary has just the right amount of snarkiness. Kudos. The other five sites he selected are pretty freaking awful. I'm going to skip one site that seems like a personal site and honor him with submitting the other five as excellent candidates for Worst Website of 2011.
I Kiss You
His English is better than my whatever-is-his-native-language ("I try to be good person” should be "I try to be a good person”). By far, it's the least offensive of the sites. Just a little cheesy (you'll understand my reference to "cheesy” a bit later).
Historian of the Future
The Historian of the Future has a website of the past. As I've said many times, there's no need for a mission statement (unless you're a nonprofit) because every mission statement can be summarized as "All babies must eat.” Except for this site. It's mission statement is seven paragraphs long and I'm not sure what it says.
The great news is s/he actually tried to categorize the material and created a navigation system instead of one long page. The bad news is the site is 1996.
Holy Mother of God. This site was a definite contender for the #1 Worst Website of 2011 (ironically, I have about four sure winners), but the site has "disappeared.” It's probably gone because of all the traffic The Huffington Post sent. Fear not. I made a quickie video (no sound) that will give you a good idea of how horrible the site was/is.
It looks like it's for a hospital. The sheer horror of it makes me wonder, "If you check in, will you be able to check out?”
We have everything that's bad in American websites, with the added problem of Japanese text. These folks also don't understand DNS. If you leave off the "www” as in http://aiseikai.or.jp/, the website won't work. Then again, that's not a bad thing. At the very least, it qualifies, as do most of the others, to join the Over-the-top Websites.
Unfortunately, when you go there, you get a 403 error.
Even though it's "forbidden" you can see it at the Internet Archive.