WOT Services, Ltd.


WOT Services, Ltd.
WOT Services, Ltd.
Industry Internet Security
Founded July 2006
Headquarters Helsinki, Finland
Website www.mywot.com

Web of Trust (WOT) is a community-based website reputation rating tool that uses a traffic-light style rating system to give Internet users additional information about a website before they visit it. WOT allows users to add their input on the categories of trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety of a website based on their experience with the site and/or services they offer. The rating scale ranges from poor to excellent and is algorithmic. It calculates the reputation of a website through a combination of user ratings and data from other sources.[1][2]

Contents

Browser integration

Rating symbols

After using a search engine such as Google, an icon appears beside each link. The icon colors are green, yellow, red or gray. Green indicates a good rating in all categories, yellow indicates a mixed rating, red indicates a poor rating, and gray indicates there is not enough data for a rating.

Website security scorecard

WOT Website Reputation Scorecard

The Website Security Scorecard was introduced with WOT version 3. The scorecard shows data on popularity, a link to the WHOIS domain entry, detailed rating information with graphics, and a section for user comments and references. The references come from negative sources such as phishing or positive sources like Digg. I September 2008 Mywot.com introduced a mass rating tool which allowed users to leave the same comment on 100 sites at a time. See http://www.mywot.com/wiki/Mass_rating_tool The results, according to critics, are thousands of identical comments which have no relation to the site they are actually commenting on. Critics say these "spam" comments remain on the boards unmoderated for years.

Rating quality and criticism

The rating system for websites utilized by the Web of Trust has received criticism. Independent reviews of the site have found that results for websites are not reported in real time and ratings are slow to catch up with some harmful sites and therefore leaving users vulnerable, especially children for sites that have not been graded for child safety.[3][4]

Also, despite claims from the site’s administrators that the ratings system is a combination of data received from trusted sources and user ratings, the “community ratings are still its main source.”[5] The accuracy of the resulting ratings depends on the accuracy of the submitted opinions.

The reliance on user generated content has led critics to believe that there is potential for users to manipulate the system, because ratings can be submitted to the add-on without having to first register an account.[6] WOT assigns a pseudonym for each add-on and requires strong authentication for each rating. Critics of the system contend that this user participation leads to biased ratings, especially with concern to political topics.[7]

The specifics of the Web of Trust meritocracy system has not been made public, but the site’s administrators will say that it’s not frequent usage alone that determines user levels, but also a reliability factor.[8] The reliability factor is based on statistical modeling that tells how well a user’s ratings match up with the majority of other trusted reviewers who have rated the same sites. This has opened the site up to criticism that a pack mentality then exists, and that in order to increase in levels new users must go along with what the community has already rated a particular site.

Mywot.com also has been criticized for allowing users to post untrue comments and negative ratings for which there may be no rational basis, and for removing positive comments intended to mitigate the negative ones.[9]

Further criticism of WOT exists over the manner in which they handle free hosting providers. Free hosting sites are often abused and consequently harbor a lot of spam and malware sites. This leads to the domain being rated poorly (often by many thousands or even millions of users). As websites inherit their domains WOT rating, any website hosted on a free hosting provider will have a poor rating and a warning displayed about it whether it is justified or not.[10]

Lawsuits

In February 2011 Ten companies in Florida filed a lawsuit against Web of Trust for defamation, violating rights, conspiracy and manipulating algorithms. The companies requested that Web of Trust remove ratings and comments that relate to them.[11]

According to the Vesa P. (current CEO of WOT Services Ltd.), the next step in the ongoing lawsuit - which was filed by Career Network Inc. et al - is an oral hearing which will take place in Orlando on August 9th, 2011. [12]

Privacy

Once installed, WOT (with its default settings) will send the hostname of any site the user visits to its home servers, where it will be recorded in the server logs. However, WOT claims to have a strict privacy policy. The website states, "The WOT add-on collects information only for computing website ratings, performing statistical analysis, and preventing abuse of our service. Any information that is no longer needed for these purposes is deleted."[13] The privacy policy states "Specifically for the WOT Safe Search, API calls may be sent to Canyon to determine if there are any refinements for your query."[14]

The privacy policy does not state however, how the new partnership with Facebook will impact user tracking, behavioral advertising or related implementations. Both MyWot as well as Facebook do know about all outgoing links posted at and visited from Facebook. How they handle this knowledge and related data is unknown.

Corporate partnerships

In May 2011 the administrators of the Web of Trust add-on announced a partnership with Facebook. Facebook will integrate the Web of Trust data into its site to warn users of potentially harmful external links posted on users' walls or news feeds.[15]

Critical Response

  • Dukeo MYWOT Web Of Trust Review: Modern Web Totalitarism[16]
  • PC Magazine The WOT add-on is reviewed by Neil Rubenking[17]
  • Softpedia The WOT add-on is reviewed by Ionut Ilascu, Editor, Software Reviews[18]
  • BNET WOT is reviewed in BNET's Business Hacks by Rick Broida[19]
  • cnet.com WOT for Internet Explorer 20090414 received a 5 star rating based on a June 10, 2009 review by CNET staff.[20]
  • PC Welt The WOT add-on is recommended German PC Welt(a PC World publication)[21]
  • Gizmo Top Pick for Best Freeware Internet Security Check WOT won the top pick award at Gizmo's Best Freeware Internet Security Check[22]
  • Recommended at Firefox Add-ons WOT is on the recommended add-ons rotation since July 2008 at Mozilla's Firefox Add-ons website.[23]
  • Ripoff Reports The WOT add-on is negatively reviewed by some users[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Web of Trust Wiki about WoT". http://www.mywot.com/wiki/WOT#How_WOT_works. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  2. ^ "Trusted Sources". http://www.mywot.com/wiki/Trusted_Sources. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  3. ^ "Web of Trust Review and Rating". http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2351536,00.asp. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "WOT - Web Of Trust Review". 12 March 2010. http://www.trash-factor.com/content/wot-web-trust-review. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Best Free Internet Safety Check". 6 May 2011. http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-internet-safety-check.htm. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "Web of Trust Reputation". http://mashable.com/2007/12/04/web-of-trust. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  7. ^ "MyWOT.com = "Web of Trust" = Web of Lies (Or: Are You Trusting A Nameless Mob of Vigilante Losers to Tell You How to Web-Surf?)". http://news.lavenderliberal.com/2011/01/12/mywot-com-web-of-trust-web-of-lies-or-are-you-trusting-a-nameless-mob-of-vigilante-losers-to-tell-you-how-to-web-surf/. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "WOT Wiki Ratings aren't equally reliable". http://www.mywot.com/wiki/FAQ#Ratings_aren.27t_equally_reliable. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Web of (Mis)trust". 2010-03-09. http://pithyus.com/wall-of-shame/140-web-of-mistrust.html?showall=1. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  10. ^ "Rating subdomains". 2010-09-17. http://www.mywot.com/wiki/Rating_subdomains. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  11. ^ "Community Warnings Lend Web Of Trust A Lawsuit". 18 February 2011. 
  12. ^ "Forum Post by Vesa P. about the next steps in the ongoing lawsuit.". 2011-07-22. http://www.mywot.com/en/forum/8653-career-network-inc-et-al-v-wot-services-ltd-et-al?comment=97358#comment-97358. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  13. ^ "WOT Privacy Policy". http://www.mywot.com/en/privacy/privacy_policy. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  14. ^ https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3456/privacy/
  15. ^ "Facebook to warn users about dubious URLs". 2011-05-12. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9216664/Facebook_to_warn_users_about_dubious_URLs. Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  16. ^ "MYWOT Web Of Trust Review: Modern Web Totalitarism". http://dukeo.com/mywot-web-of-trust-review-modern-web-totalitarism/. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  17. ^ "Web of Trust". http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2351536,00.asp. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  18. ^ "Keep Away from Risky Websites". http://www.softpedia.com/reviews/windows/WOT-Web-of-Trust-Review-118246.shtml. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  19. ^ "Avoid Unsafe Web Sites with Web of Trust". http://blogs.bnet.com/businesstips/?p=4471. Retrieved 2009-07-30. 
  20. ^ "Editor's review of WOT for Internet Explorer - "Internet danger meter"". http://download.cnet.com/WOT-for-Internet-Explorer/3000-12512_4-10777505.html?tag=mncol#editorsreview. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  21. ^ "Diese Linkscanner warnen vor bösen Webseiten". http://www.pcwelt.de/start/software_os/online/praxis/198140/diese_linkscanner_warnen_vor_boesen_webseiten_update/index3.html. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  22. ^ "Gizmo's - Best Internet Safety Freeware". Gizmo's Freeware. http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-internet-safety-check.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  23. ^ "Firefox Add-ons: Recommended Add-ons". https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/recommended. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  24. ^ "Web of Trust Ripoff Report Directory". http://www.ripoffreport.com/directory/Web-of-Trust.aspx. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 

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