The year 2005 was when the number of blogs on the internet exploded, with around 50 million people deciding that they could do that. Ten years later, most of those blogs have been taken down or abandoned, while millions more took their place. The ones that survived required real dedication to make it this far. On August 9th of that year, Alex Santoso launched his blog Neatorama, with a pledge to himself to post at least five items a day. Ten years later, a half-dozen writers post a couple dozen items a day plus exclusive features. We have a shop to support the blog, where artists from all over the internet display their creative t-shirt designs. We have an active presence on social media, plus partners, friends, and contributors. This all came about not only because of Alex’s hard work, also but because he always believed in sharing, promoting, and encouraging bloggers, artists, writers, and content creators. That generosity made Neatorama stand out from the crowd.
For the occasion of Neatorama’s tenth anniversary, I decided to go back and find the biggest posts ever. These are the ones people loved, shared, and remembered, and many of them are still popular years later. They are extreme standouts; a post had to have at least a quarter-million views just to be considered for this list. That said, I can’t vouch for its complete accuracy. The metrics we use to tally views weren’t instituted until 2012, so posts that went viral before that are seriously undercounted. I gave extra weight to some of those older posts, but other articles that deserve to be on this list may have been so undercounted that we overlooked them. You know, it really says something about an article from, say, 2007, when half a million people read it after it was five years old!
I sifted through more than 80,000 posts to compile this list, so I hope you take some time to check out the links you are interested in, especially if you haven’t been hanging around Neatorama for the entire past ten years. If you have, or even if you’ve joined us recently, you’re invited to share your favorite posts, memories, questions, kudos, complaints, and suggestions with us.
20. Top 15 Amazingly Fat Cats
The fat cats list was Alex's first big viral feature, in May of 2006. It should probably rank higher, since we don't know how many views it garnered before 2012. Posting about cats was a genius move at the time. The term LOLcat wasn't even coined until the next month, but we were LOL-ing already. The post was later added as an external reading link at Wikipedia.
Unless you were a youngster, you were already familiar with the photographs. They are the ones we want to see again. And the stories of how each affected the world were fascinating.
Bruce Lee was the little guy who could plaster the wall with Chuck Norris's body parts, and look good doing it. He was even more interesting off screen, as we learned in Alex's trivia post from 2007.
This post from only a year ago is still steadily racking up views. It came in second in the end-of-the-year list in 2014.
Savants are already fascinating. How can someone be so talented in one specific area while being impaired in others? Each individual is different, from Kim Peek, the inspiration for the movie Rain Man, to Leslie Lemke, who can play classical piano pieces perfectly after hearing them just once.
15. Fractal Utensils
Fascinating idea, but these don't exist in reality, at least not at the time it was posted. It's a Photoshop, but someone should really make these fractal utensils!
This is a list of science experiment videos that you might want to try yourself. Alex described it thusly:
Chemistry is a fascinating science, but it's often taught poorly in today's boring schools. Here's how chemistry should be taught: by mad scientists!
One of Alex's earliest feature articles, this one led us to kid him about his barbecue fetish for years.
The beautiful art of Ed Fairburn, drawn on topographical maps.
Just about everyone has either been to Disneyland (or Walt Disney World) or plans to go sometime in the future. Meanwhile, there's a lot going on behind the scenes, and we all want to know what those things are.
This is the biggest webcomic post we’ve ever had. Marriage and a doctorate come out pretty even in time, effort, and money invested, and those who have one tend to wish they had the other, too. You ought to check out Jorge Cham’s PHD Comics on a regular basis.
Here we learn that a country can be as small as a golf course, that you don't really need a capital city, and a whole nation can survive on one natural resource, one industry, or just by being pretty and drawing tourist dollars. I'd like to visit them all!
The key words here are "easy" and "last minute." We love Halloween, but we also love to procrastinate. You can't go to a Halloween party or trick-or-treating without some kind of costume, so this post obviously filled a need for many people.
The title of the post may lead you to think that it's about sex with a thin veneer of science to make it acceptable. However, these critters are truly strange, with their gross, painful, and even deadly ways of propagating the species. You'd never want to emulate them, or even think about them too much. Still, everyone found it an interesting list. Becoming a citation on Wikipedia didn't hurt.
Boy, people do love a good insult! And we like to learn new words, either to use or to defend ourselves from.
Sometimes I picture a desperate high school student Googling a subject they waited until the last minute to write about. I'm sure we get traffic from just such moments, especially in our trivia lists about historical figures. Those papers probably took a weird turn from the theory of relativity into Einstein's treatment of his wives.
Can you raise one eyebrow without the other? Maybe. Can you lick your elbow? No, you can't. That's just the beginning of the things that are (almost) all impossible to do. After reading this list, over 300 people came into the comments to argue about whether these things are possible.
Why was this such a big hit? Do men still wear ties so much they need exotic knots? Or do the men who wear ties have to come back and re-read the instructions every time they do? Or is it a fact that many, many people sent this to a friend who needed help? Or does everyone just want to try tying knots for fun?
Forensic artist Nigel Cockerton has recreated many faces from actual human skulls, but on a whim he tried it with the skull-shaped glass bottle of Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Skull Vodka. The result was a guy who had obviously consumed too much of the stuff! It was a fun post about a strange idea that everyone liked and wanted to share. The post was even included as an external link at Wikipedia.
(Image credit: Flickr user jpeepz)
The post on the most magnificent trees in the world was an immediate viral hit, but we don't have metrics for its first five years. However, in the past three years alone, it's racked enough views to make it clear that it has been seen by more people than any other Neatorama post.
You might also want to check out some of the posts that just missed the cutoff of the top 20.
The Forbidden Island
A Fast Food Purse
Life with a Toddler
Landlocked Navies of the World
A Doctor Who-Themed Restaurant
9 Most Outrageous Things Ever Faked in China
Turducken? No, Thanks. I'll Have the Cthurkey.
15 Cool and Creepy Halloween Party Foods
10 Richest People of All Time and How They Made Their Fortunes
Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved
The Dark Side of Peter Pan
10 Most Amazing Temples in the World
We hope to bring you many more terrific posts in the next ten years. Thanks to all of you for being a part of what makes Neatorama so great!