Wow, they did it again. The Wattenberg's, over at Baby Name Wizard, have made an excellent mapping tool showing the popularity of baby names in different US states and also for different years. Here is their announcement, which was about 3 weeks before my announcement. Obviously, I had been working on my maps for more than three weeks, so I didn't take their idea.... But, now I can't claim to be the only place to view state-by-state popularity differences.
Their state browser is much more featured than mine, but again, it uses Java which makes it slower to load, and it actually crashed my whole browser the first time I tried it. Should I give up and stop promoting my site? I would almost say "yes" except I think that there is room for more than 1 good baby name website.
The person who started Baby Names Map has commented on this site and linked to this website and I have been getting a fair bit of traffic from his blog and his website. I am grateful for his mentioning my site and it serves as a constant reminder to me that my site is very USA-centric. The main reason for this was to stay focused and get something up and running. Also, the US Social Security Administration site has over 100 years of name popularity information, which is a rich source of data (508,000 data points for 14,722 first names).
Despite the abundance of data from the SSA, I feel like I should add name popularity information from other countries into my website, since I can already see in my logs that I am getting some international visitors (UK and Canada for now). It would be fun to have some interactive maps or just be able to switch countries in order to view the rankings and historical graphs. I'll put it on my to-do list!
I have found two additional baby name websites to add to my review of the best baby name websites: The Right Baby Name and Baby Name Addicts. The Each site has some unique features. The Right Baby Name has a very ineresting report and analysis for each baby name, and the Addicts site has a very large database of names, many added from the strong user base.
Like I noted elsewhere, the reason I started this website was because many of the baby name websites that I found were presenting the same data in boring, ad-filled pages. One of the least inspiring ways to browse names is alphabetically in a long list since there is no context for popularity of names or name relatedness. Many sites offered no passion for the names or interest in looking at it in different ways... they were cluttered, slow and difficult to navigate.
I have written a review of what I think are some GOOD baby name websites. This is my review of the underperformers (who show up very high in Google search rankings)
To get a list of these "bad" sites, just go to Google and search for "baby names," then all the sites in the first couple pages which I did not mention in my review of good websites are the set of not-great websites. I am only slightly kidding.
Here is a mini-review for the top 20 links of a "baby names" Google search results (as of June 30, 2008):
Overall, there are some really great options for looking for baby names. When I first started looking at baby name websites, I was shocked by the larger number of pretty boring and copycat type baby name websites. In fact, I have a review of baby name websites to avoid, also. But, now it is clear that there are a couple pretty good choices. Every site has some issues, but the ones listed here should keep anyone busy for a long time.
Here are the best baby name websites: Baby Name Wizard, Social Security Administration, Nymbler, Behind the Name, BabyNamer, Baby Name Map, Baby Name Clusters (this site) and Babynames.com. Added July 20, 2008: The Right Baby Name and Baby Name Addicts.