24 Most Underrated Websites of 2008

[via mashable]

Over the past year we’ve reviewed sites from just about every cross-section of the web. And yet, so many ground breaking new services haven’t received the recognition they deserve: we aim to set that straight.

From niche social networks to job sites and alternative search engines, each of the following excited us in 2008, and we’re intrigued to see where they take us in 2009.

What do you think are some of 2008’s most underrated websites? Tell us in the comments.

CarZen - Taking the tedium out of car shopping is an understatement. After you set your budget range, which features you want and your preferred make, CarZen will present you with choices and details about the automobiles that match your criteria.

AudioMicro - With more and more people doing podcasts, there is a bigger demand than ever for stock music that you can legally use. AudioMicro provides a user-made stock music market that takes care of all your stock music needs.

Cmypitch - Cmypitch.com is a one stop shop for entrepreneurs that allows you to network your UK-based companies with videos, and look for sources of funding, advice and information.

CoNotes - CoNotes matches job seekers with cool startups by allowing people to find startups looking for employees and vice versa. Each company on the site has a section for comments and questions so you can learn about the company before you even apply.

Coolspotters - Ever seen a celebrity carrying a bag and just had to know who made it? Coolspotters puts celebrity fashion on display by taking images of celebrities from various events and helping you figure out not only who made the bag, but where you can get one for yourself. Coolspotters is also a winner of the Blogger’s Choice Open Web Awards.

findingDulcinea - Sometimes you just don’t have the time to go out and find the stories you want on the web, and that is why findingDulcinea gives you a curated view. Using the tagline “Librarian of the Internet,” the site breaks stories from around the web into categories, making your reading time of popular stories much less intrusive.

JobBite - JobBite can help you find out if competitors pay more. The service has entered into the employer payment and corporate environment review space, but has shown that a minimalist approach, with a straightforward search ability, can be the most valuable element when you’re looking for new employment.

Just Leap In - One of the factors keeping some people from trying virtual worlds is the fact that you have to run a totally separate program, eating up resources. Just leap In puts a virtual world in your browser and lets you share images, videos and social network with your friends.

Forvo - “Forvo: Pronounce “Nuclear” in Any Language” couldn’t be a truer headline as the service is aiming to eventually have every word in the world pronounced in every language by native speakers. The perfect service for anyone straining to learn a new language.

Lymabean - Despite the oddness of its name, Lymabean brings sexy back to college networking. Directed at college students only, Lymabean tries to bring local businesses, events and students together so that they can share information.

Nofouls - Ever had trouble getting your friends together for a basketball game? Nofouls places local courts on a Google Maps mashup so you can locate them and organize games.

PingMyCompany - Rate your employer with PingMyCompany or any company you have worked for. This is a great way to lure new co-workers or tell them to avoid your place of employment like the plague.

Playfish - Playfish is in the social gaming space, with a handful of games like “Who Has the Biggest Brain?” and “Bowling Buddies” available for Facebook, and inching their way onto other sites like Bebo, MySpace, and Yahoo. The games are fun and colorful, but the startup often gets overlooked in the crowded social gaming market.

Twittertise -Twitter may not seem to have any idea how to make money with their own product, but there is nothing stopping the rest of us. Twittertise allows you to schedule advertising via Twitter for up to a year in advance.

Rudder - Mint seems to get all of the love in the personal finance sector, but there are other solutions out there such as Rudder. While it’s less detail-oriented, it does its job well and is worth checking out.

Zenbe - Zenbe is a new email service that aims to change how we email by bringing together social services like Facebook, sharing documents & calendars with others, and building simple web pages so that people can see shared items.

PostaCrime - PostaCrime is YouTube for Surveillance Tapes. It allows businesses to put up copies of their security tapes in the hopes that people can identify the individuals involved with the crimes.

UEatCheap - UEatCheap matches food with frugality by using a Google Maps mashup that will let you find food in a $10 price range based on your location and what type of food you are looking for.

SocialMinder - SocialMinder helps you see which people you converse with via Gmail and LinkedIn, and tells you how strong your relationships are with them, and how you might improve them. As noted in the post, the service will become even more usable if it expands to other email and social networking services.

Twitturly - Many of us share website addresses on Twitter every day, and with Twitturly, tracking popular URLs has never been easier. This is all accomplished by monitoring the public timeline, and as a URL gets discussed more, it moves up in the rankings, making it especially effective for breaking news stories.

Zhiing - Zhiing enables people to send their location to others’ phones, desktops, laptops, and dash devices, and not only learn where the person wants them to go, but give them turn-by-turn directions on how to get there.

E.Factor - The main focus of E.Factor is to connect entrepreneurs with investors, but the site also offers members health insurance and 401(k) plans. The idea that a social network is offering such perks is hard to ignore.

Unigo - Unigo allows users to review universities and colleges from a student’s perspective so future students can get an idea of what to expect before they even apply.

Where The Locals Eat - We’ve all experienced that problem while traveling where all you can find is some overpriced restaurant totally geared towards gouging the tourists. This is why it is always beneficial to find out where the locals eat. The service lists the top 100 spots to grab some grub in the 50 largest cities in the USA.

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