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Web Of Trust

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013
Listen with webreader

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.

WOT

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.

WOT02

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?

WOT03

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?
 

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23 Comments »

Mitch I have not heard of them. However, I like the idea, but like you I do not want one person to have that much power.

I am going to look further into it though. I wish that all dodgy sites could be reported.

Thanks for the info.
Micjhael Belk recently posted…Mercury in CFL bulbs: A little known fact.My Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

It’s an interesting tool to use Michael, as long as folks realize that they should at least look at what people are saying about a site.

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March 22nd, 2013 | 2:22 PM

I’ve only heard of them because they blacklisted a friend of mine’s product. WoT is not ethical or fair in my opinion. They focus on the negative and don’t allow any defending yourself. All it takes is one person with a personal vendetta and you’re screwed
Brian Couch recently posted…Isagenix Reviews- Creating Millionaire’s By The Minute!My Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Actually Brian, they do seem to allow someone to defend themselves, but the only thing I’ve noticed is that people can defend themselves and at some point comments are disabled but the warning still exists. I don’t know if there can be enough positive votes to override the bad one, but I’m thinking that if it works correctly there would have to be a certain average number that puts someone back into the green.

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March 22nd, 2013 | 5:38 PM

I agree that giving one person that amount of power is a bit scary. I tried the WOT for awhile and found it to not be of much use…

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Could you expand on that some Virginia?

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March 23rd, 2013 | 6:28 AM

frankly this is the first time I heard about WOT, but to be more frank they (infact you) have impressed and convinced me to give that a shot.. will check that and post back my review soon..
King recently posted…HostGator ReviewMy Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Good luck with it; should be interesting to see your review.

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March 23rd, 2013 | 7:16 AM

OMG Mitch! Seriously… So one person can go through this site and put down anyone they don’t want getting rave reviews for whatever reason and this site can blacklist them. That just doesn’t sound right to me.

Now in my personal opinion, your site should get negative reviews if you’re being dishonest, you’re promoting scams and you’re jipping people out of their money. Other then that we do live in a free country right so people’s opinions of things they want to write about should be just.

That’s like someone saying negative things about me because I get a lot of comments and what I share is from my own experience. It may not work for them for whatever reason but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

I know the guy you’re speaking of of course but I’ve never purchased anything from him and I don’t promote all his posts. He’s been a stand up guy in my eyes but I admit I may not know everything he’s about since I don’t know him personally.

Not sure if I’ll check this site out mainly because of what you’ve shared here. It doesn’t quite sound fair so to me it’s not something I would seriously base my decision on. I would definitely do a lot more research before I cut someone off at the knees.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention though. I was not aware of this site.

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted…UPDATE: Author Bio Box Solution FoundMy Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Hi Adrienne,

It’s not really a site per se, more of a plugin or add-on to your browser. Actually I guess it is a site as well, but you don’t go there to see anything, just get the extension. Yeah, I’ve seen where one bad vote can flag a site if you happen to be going by; that’s kind of freaky to me. But I did see some sites where you were warned about bad stuff. There used to be a different plugin for Firefox that warned you about stuff a couple of years ago but it was discontinued, so this is what I’m using for the moment.

You know who it is, eh? You’re smart like that. ;-)

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March 23rd, 2013 | 2:47 PM

One of my site showed Congratulations and one of my better site shows Users are not much aware and all stuff.

I don’t know how they are calculating it. But still quite a good tool to play with.
Keral Patel recently posted…Top Questions To Ask Before Hiring A WebmasterMy Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Keral, it may or may not be great, but it’s a tool and it’s a least something to look at here and there.

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March 24th, 2013 | 5:51 AM

Mitch,

I had not heard of this site but I am more intrigued by this message I received when I started posting my comment:

“Hover your mouse here to see the data that CommentLuv got back from your site. If you see a warning or other error message then that might help you locate the problem (maybe another plugin is spitting out an error?)”

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Bev, that happens sometimes when I visit other blogs. Sometimes it’s the server at the CommentLuv site that’s off. I did a test and your site worked on the test so it’s definitely not you.

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March 24th, 2013 | 6:58 PM

WOT is a free community-powered safe surfing tool that tells you which websites you can trust based on other users’ experiences. It protects you from threats that only humans can spot, such as scams, phishing, and bad online shopping experiences.
When someone first hears about the concept behind WOT, their first objection is that someone could easily spam the system with tons of ratings and rate down their competitors or otherwise manipulate reputations, but that’s not true. WOT system is meritocratic. We have designed the system to analyze each user’s rating behavior from several aspects, including statistical modeling, in order to determine their trustworthiness. When you start using WOT, your ratings have minimal weight, but if you keep rating sites consistently, your ratings grow more trustworthy over time. The idea is to make the system difficult to manipulate.
It is important to notice that a user’s trustworthiness doesn’t depend on the number of ratings or whether you agree with other users. Specifically, it’s not related to your activity score or user level, which simply tell you how active you’ve been. There are cases where a user has been active but is not considered trustworthy by the system and thus the user has less rating weight. Also note that all user ratings do have a weight and a single user (no matter how trustworthy) has a limited effect on WOT reputation ratings.

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks for the added information on what your site & plugin is supposed to be. I didn’t sign on to be a rater, only someone using the system for evaluation. That’s where it’s been interesting because I really have seen where just one voter has caused a site to come up on the blacklist so to speak. Are there certain things that a voter can claim against a site that triggers more of a bad experience than others?

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March 25th, 2013 | 10:05 AM
Chuck:

I’m pretty sure web pages like Reddit and Yelp have algorithms our sites are subjected to in the rankings via an upvoting and downvoting system. Difference between those sites and WOT is that people are actually using Reddit and Yelp and I don’t think the traffic is a WOT. So a lot of people can downvote your comments on Reddit but in reality they are just one vote of many.

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Chuck, I’ve never been to either Reddit or Yelp so I can’t comment on those. But I figure any votes on those sites are for the specific post and not against anyone’s website or blog.

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March 25th, 2013 | 3:07 PM

Please also note that in WOT sites’ reputations are calculated based on ratings, not comments.
Writing a comment is optional, and most people do not leave a comment on the scorecard when rating a site. Thus the number of comments does not indicate how many users have rated a site.

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March 26th, 2013 | 6:38 AM

Hmm this reminds me of Google Sidewiki, where you would browse the site and see comments made from other users. There was also a bit of an uprising from businesses and larger sites that said the comments were mostly negative and from those who just had an axe to grind.

I probably wouldn’t use web of trust, because I’d have to feel like I could trust the other people voting before I could really value the score, and I don’t know anything about them.

Finally, I have no idea who you’re talking about in the article lol. Gimme a hint!
John Garrett recently posted…The Free Can’t Last ForeverMy Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

LOL! I’ll send you a DM. Truthfully, in every aspect of business it’s the people who get irritated who make the most noise. I’m with that group I must admit, although in my past I often wrote companies whose stuff I loved as well; got lots of free stuff that way. Not sure if you saw the comments above yours from a representative of the company; a bit illuminating but still doesn’t bust up the premise that more people than not who leave comments don’t like something.

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March 26th, 2013 | 10:24 PM

WOT sounds like a program that used to ship with an anti-virus program I used to use. I uninstalled it as I found it too biased against sites that I found harmless and not enough info (if any) about sites that had malware and were otherwise dodgy.

If I’m thinking of using a plugin that I’m not sure about, I read the user reviews on a site such as CNET, like these for WOT: http://download.cnet.com/WOT-Web-of-Trust-for-Firefox/3000-11745_4-10588554.html#rateit

And based on what I just read there, I wouldn’t use it. (Even with WOT’s comments above).

The rating system you mention, Mitch, sounds much like the sort of rating system that some commercial review sites use, in which if just one person gives a good review, the site or item has a 100% positive rating. Maybe it’s the same type of thing with WOT. So things only really give a balanced view when there have been quite a lot of ratings from many people.

Personally I prefer to use my instincts and experience with the internet to decide if a site is good or bad in terms of its content or malware or whatever. I have occasionally surfed onto a bad site, but these days it’s very rare.

I think you should just trust your own instincts: they’re good as they are.
Val recently posted…Growing up with the ordinary – or notMy Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

That was some interesting reading Val. It’s funny that the original review was written in 2009; I guess they’ve been around for a good long time. The comments are illuminating; it’s hard to disagree fully with any of them. There definitely is a need for something like this that’s a bit more accurate, that’s for sure.

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March 28th, 2013 | 10:53 AM
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