Trending Topics: Single-Serving Websites

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What is it that makes single-serving sites (a webpage with a dedicated domain name that exists on this planet to serve only one purpose) so damned appealing?  Whatever the secret sauce may be, single-serving sites have been around longer than you may realize -- since the inception of the  web, even -- although it’s only been in the past couple of years that netophiles (like Jason Kottke ) have placed them into a genus all their own.

While there could be some argument about what exactly constitutes a “single-serving site,” a few facts remain true across the board: the user’s “need” (and I use this word loosely) must be met without requiring them to click to any other page or website for more information on the subject at hand. Personally, my favorite sites include nothing more than single word or phrase, which usually directly relates to the URL: examples include Is Twitter Down ? and Going To Rain . The less effort one puts into getting the answers to these questions, the better.

While some people put up these sites just for the pure entertainment value, others seek to make a political statement -- or a quick buck. In the case of Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle , author Mathew Honan was able to do both: not only did his site, which served up hundreds of different ways the now President could make your life better (from “Barack Obama warmed up your car for you” and “Barack Obama checked under your bed for monsters”) garner national attention during the election, it also landed him a book deal. But since most single-servers deal in one word responses or images and video (like the always entertaining YTMND ) profitability from a book deal seems unlikely for most creators. The best one can usually hope for is Internet notoriety and a small pittance from Google AdSense.

There are several good lists of single-serving sites online (presented, of course, in standard SSS format), and here are a few of my personal favorites:

ZOMBO -- Don’t try to understand, just go with the ZOMBO.

All Glory to the Hypnotoad! -- How can you resist?

Down For Everyone Or Just Me? -- It’s usually you.

Let Me Google That For You -- The best way to answer stupid questions.

Instant Rimshot -- Punctuate your point with a rimshot.

How Is Babby Formed -- The eternal question, answered.

It may seem that these sites are little more than a quick bit of entertainment, but I would go so far as to say that they are the very essence of Internet, boiled down and purified into one perfect block of code. List some of your favorites in the comments!

Veronica Belmont is the co-host of Tekzilla and the host of PlayStation Network's Qore. Follow her on Twitter @veronica .

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