Best Website - 2009
Palm Beach County Property Appraiser
This county is home to some of the world's richest, most famous, most jealously private people, but they're all at the mercy of any commoner with an internet connection. Basically, the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser's website is tax-funded voyeurism. Pop a famous name into the database and it will spit out the street address, the sale price, the current appraised value, and the dimensions of the region's most exclusive residences. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter managed to convince the county that it should unlist her address, ostensibly on the basis that her personality made her an inviting assassination victim. But curious people can still find out that she paid $1.8 million for a relatively modest 3,000-square-foot home on the island. One can find the exact location of such contemptible creatures as Rush ("R H" in the database) Limbaugh, Jeffrey Epstein, and Bernard Madoff (who listed his place under wife Ruth's name). But the best feature is the button for maps. With an aerial view of each parcel, a nosy soul can click his or her way around the neighborhood to see whether the Joneses overpaid for their home or whether the Baxters embellished their square footage at the dinner party. And who is that strange man down the block — a harmless loner or a sex offender? Pull his name from the appraiser's site, then let Google perform the background search. When it comes to snooping on the neighbors, it's a whole lot better than hiding in the hedges.