The 15 Best Places to Waste Time on the Web

Naysayers claim that the Internet can be one big waste of time. Here's to proving them right

It's first thing in the morning and you're at the office. You're sipping your coffee and sifting through e-mail, but you're not quite ready to delve into the real work of the day. So what are you gonna do? Fire up your Web browser and distract yourself by wasting time on the Internet.

Ah, but where to start? In the name of science, we culled through hundreds of bookmarks to determine the best sites for spitting in the face of productivity.

But first, some ground rules: We're including only browser-accessible destinations (so no World of Warcraft or Google Earth), and for the most part, we shied away from anything overly obvious or highly specialized: No straight news, fantasy sports, Web mail, shopping, matchmaking sites, stock quotes, or discussion forums for your 1982 Camaro. We also tried (though this was tricky) to recommend sites that might be conceivably accessible from work: No adult content, poker, or games that can't easily be closed when the boss strolls by.

Consider yourself amply warned: Don't read this story if you plan on getting anything done for a while.

Best Time Wasters #15-#12

15. What Would Tyler Durden Do?

When all else fails, there is always celebrity gossip. Paris, Lindsay, Britney, and the whole gaggle of train-wrecks-that-just-won't-quit make for easy pickings on sites like Defamer, The Superficial, and IDontLikeYouInThatWay. All of the sites tend to carry nearly the same stories every day, but WWTDD (adopting Fight Club's imaginary antihero persona as blogger) has the cruelest write-ups and the biggest pictures. Meow.

14. Pogo.com

The king of mini browser games, Pogo's collection of card, parlor, puzzle, and casino-style diversions is a destination for hundreds of thousands of regular players--many of whom spend hours on end winning game tokens, graphical badges, and cash payouts of up to $5000. Real money is rare, though: Most users are happy to play dominoes, backgammon, cribbage, or dozens of other games, alone or against live opponents, just for kicks. Many games are free. Club Pogo members pay $40 a year for access to everything (over 100 titles), ad-free.

13. HOT or NOT

Remember this rate-how-hot-my-picture-is phenomenon that actually inspired a TV show? Well, hotornot.com is still around and, judging by the continued influx of pictures and the frequency with which users check their ratings, it's still extremely busy. (In fact, the site now contains more than 25 million user-submitted photos.) But what makes hotornot such an apt time-waster is that you can get virtually endless content delivered quickly with a single click. It may not be very worthwhile, but you have to give it points for sheer quantity and ease of navigation. Copycat sites are legion, from GothOrNot to PetsInClothes.

12. AOL In2TV

Why read about TV shows online when you can actually watch them? From Welcome Back, Kotter to Chico and the Man, In2TV has more awful television from the '70s to the present collected in one place than should be allowed by law. Just about the only thing that competes is ABC, which offers the most recent complete episodes of seven shows from its current prime-time lineup, including Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy. Beware: The AOL-provided service is terribly buggy and works only in the United States. (Sorry, Uzbekistan!)

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