Our 17th annual Best of the Net guide features what we consider to be the most useful online resources. We tell you where to go to find data, access good analytical tools and get answers to key questions. In all cases, we looked for websites that provide useful information, are easy to use and do not overwhelm you with ads. Whenever possible, we sought out websites that are free, though when subscriptions fees are charged, we clearly tell you. (Keep in mind that many websites offer both free and subscription-based content.)
Our primary criterion for analyzing a website was to consider whether it offered value for its visitors. There are a large number of websites with well-designed pages and lots of content, but that possess little that is unique enough to make them stand out from their peers. We paid a lot of attention to the quality of content and whether it was credible or not. We also compared our former Best of the Net picks against their peers to see if a better alternative has emerged in the past 12 months.
One notable website missing from this year’s guide is SmartMoney.com. The site was shut down earlier this year by its corporate parent, Dow Jones. We were sad to see it go because SmartMoney.com was one of our favorite websites for both content and tools. In its place, you will see several new names.
To reflect the changing nature of the Internet, we also revamped the listing of social media and networking websites. Most notably dropped from the list of recommended websites are the Yahoo! Finance message boards. New to the category this year are Seeking Alpha and StockTwits. The former is an aggregator of financial blogs, newsletters and other financial commentary. The latter is a Twitter-based website.
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