Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 21, 2013
Just because I’ve been online a long time doesn’t mean I know about everything that’s out there. A few weeks ago I was looking at a site that I needed to review to see if it was worthy of showing on a guest post on my finance blog. It seemed a bit dodgy for some reason, but I wasn’t sure. I wrote a friend of mine and asked her to take a look, and she wrote back saying it was blacklisted by something called Web Of Trust and to not trust it.
I did a little bit of research and decided to download the plugin for my Firefox browser. It only comes up when you go to a website that’s been given a negative rating of some kind so I figured that would be interesting to see. You get to see why people gave those sites a negative rating as well. If you want you can sign up for an account and vote on sites as well. I decided I didn’t want to go that route for now; at this point I’m not sure I will based on the rest of what I’m going to mention.
For a few days all seemed to be going along very smoothly. Then I followed a link by someone I trust on Twitter to a site that I’d been to before by a prominent blogger. Lo and behold the warning came up and I was stunned. I decided to check it out because there were quite a few comments on it.
Not all of the comments were bad but there was an interesting mix. Some people said the guy sent out a lot of spam. Some said he hired people to spam forums. Some complained that they didn’t like the content, and others complained that some of the products and services the guy sold cost too much.
On the other hand some people liked the content; actually, most people who supported the site liked the content. Others went to the site to support the writer and complain about the people voting the site down for whatever reason. At some point the WOT people decided it was time to turn off comments; people can still vote apparently, but they can’t comment anymore.
Stuff like this leaves you in a quandary. Personally I’m not sure disliking someone is a good enough reason to vote their site down. If products are costly that’s a different issue as well. Now, if the products are a scam that’s a different story, and I didn’t see anyone say that. If there’s malware and other nasty stuff definitely vote against that, and I saw that on a lot of other sites. I also saw people voting down a site because of pretty women on some of the pages; okay, they were in bikinis but really, that’s a reason to shoot down a webpage?
Anyway, as I’ve gone to other sites I’ve seen some that have the warning against them, and when I look at the ratings I see only one person rated them; that’s intriguing. One person having that much power is scary; that means all it takes is one person to dislike your site and suddenly you’re on a blacklist. It’s my belief that some people probably end up creating an account so they can respond to the bad stuff; I know I would.
Frankly, this is a dicey proposition across the board. I’m still running it since it doesn’t cost anything, but it now tells me I have to read all reviews to see if whatever the complaints are seem justifiable. My main worry was spyware, malware and viruses, not whether someone liked a website or not. Scams and the like, yeah, that’s important. But knowing that any one of us could have someone decide they didn’t like something we put on our site & thus reported us to these folks, and knowing that only one person is enough to shut you down is disconcerting.
If you know about this already what do you think? If you didn’t know about it are you thinking about giving it a shot? You see the screenshots; well?