In a funny mood, I typed 'www' into Google. I don't really know what I expected to happen; perhaps it would ignore it, or at least strip it from URLs. I was wrong.
I found myself faced with 781 million web pages found. At first I found this funny, but then I began to look at my results.
What I had produced was -- to all practical purposes -- a comprehensive list of almost every site on the web, listed in order of pagerank.
Google's top sites 10/02
1. Yahoo!: www.yahoo.com
Yes, Yahoo! still rules the roost as far as pagerank is concerned. Remember, once upon a time Yahoo! was the only search engine known by most Internet users, before the rise of Google. Lots of old websites still link through to Yahoo!, and the pagerank algorithm tends to favour older sites. And of course, plenty of people still have yahoo.com set as their web-portal. Nowadays, Yahoo! uses Google itself as its search engine.
2. Adobe: www.adobe.com
3. Adobe Acrobat: www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html
Yip, taking up second and third place is that most useful of killer apps, the Acrobat viewer. It makes sense. Lots of important, high-traffic websites use PDFs. Almost all of these will link though to Adobe so people without a PDF viewer can download Acrobat.
4. Google: www.google.com
I don't think I ned to explain this one, really....
Whatever you think of Microsoft, they are undoubtably the big boys when it comes to software companies. Lots of web-pages, particularly of the Geocities homepage variety, tend to have little 'Optimised for IE' buttons at the bottom, linking through to Microsoft. People also link through to their patches and support pages. Also, the Micro$oft $ux code kiddies tend to link to the big M while cussing it.
6. Excite: www.excite.com
Another all-singing, all-dancing portal site with search engine attached. I'm actually a little surprised this is so far up the list.
7. Amazon: www.amazon.com
Probably the world's most famous e-business, the online bookshop is pretty high up the list. Amazon spends a fortune on advertising all over the web; banners, click-throughs and sponsored links. It's also quite fashionable for webpage authors to link to the Amazon page for a mentioned book.
8. Altavista: www.altavista.com
Once upon a time, this was one of the 1337 search engines, rather than sites like Yahoo!, which were dismissed as 'web-catalogues'. As with the others, lots of links are floating around on random websites. Of course, the Babelfish, one of the earliest translation tools online, is here too.
9. Mapquest: www.mapquest.com
A website for getting streetmaps of the USA. Lots of US companies and places link to this website to show people where they are, rather than going to the effort of having their own maps. Also an AOL Time Warner company, so linked to by other 'big' sites like CNN and Netscape.
10. Netscape -- www.netscape.com
The number two browser's homepage, which does its best to act as a web-portal. As with Microsoft, lots of sites have a little "use Netscape" button at the bottom. Another branch AOL Time Warner empire.
11. Real.com, the RealPlayer people
12. CNN, another AOL Time Warner website
21. Hotmail, everybody's favourite source of marketing information on mortgages, BRITNEY NUDE and Penis extensions
And finally, the last page anyone could get to:
995. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority: www.mbta.com (thanks to liveforever).
gnarl says: "you haven't listed the web page in the 781,000,000th place." Well, Blue Bellied Lizard and liveforever tells me the one thousandth page is the limit, and aeschylus reckons it's 960. Pity, eh?