People say hindsight is 20/20. When it comes to the Web, hindsight is more like X-ray vision: In retrospect, it's easy to see what was wrong with dot coms that tried to make a business out of giving stuff away for free (but making it up later in volume), or to make fun of venture capitalists who handed millions to budding Web titans who had never run a lemonade stand before, let alone an enterprise.
It's so easy, in fact, we can't help doing it ourselves. So as venture capitalists scramble to throw money at anything labled Ajax or Web 2.0, and Web publishing becomes so simple that anyone with a working mouse hand can put up a site, we offer our list of the 25 worst Web sites of all time.
Many of our bottom 25 date from the dot-com boom, when no bad idea went unfunded. Some sites were outright scams--at least two of our featured Net entrepreneurs spent some time in the pokey. Others are just examples of bad design, or sites that got a little too careless with users' information, or tried to demand far too much personal data for too little benefit.
And to prove we're not afraid to pick on somebody much bigger than us, our pick for the worst Web site may be the hottest cyberspot on the planet right now.
Feel free to start at the bottom and work your way up, or jump ahead and read about the worst of the worst.