Friday, April 04, 2008

Web of Trust (MYWOT) is a new website safety rating service.

I got an email today from a new website rating facility called "Web of Trust", which says it will offer safety scores of websites based on user community ratings.

(I wonder how WOT rates xpantivirus, which keeps sending out spam comments.)

The components of a rating are trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy, and child safety. It is not clear how closely child safety is related to just the presence of explicit pornography, or whether it can try to judge the murkier areas of implicit content and possible enticement. It could be tailored after the legal definition of "harmful to minors" as in COPA (now struck down) and other proposed legislation, but I am not sure of this yet.

One concern is that a site could get downgraded by users if it is frequently the subject of "spoofed" email spam (where the website is falsely used as the "sender" of the email, in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act).

There is a Youtube video here.

The blog for this site is here.

The most dangerous sites were "adult sites" "software" and "entertainment" (presskit link).

Offhand, the mechanics of the reporting from the site seem similar to McAfee Site Advisor: the "traffic light" approach of red, yellow and green, with color coded balls by search engine results placed there by plug-ins. However, user input is supposed to drive the rating. McCafee Site Advisor does give WOT a grade of "green."

This sounds like a website online "reputation defense" monitor. In a sense, it could become a reputation parameter for individuals who run their own websites.

Stay tuned on this one.

Update: April 16, 2008

WOT tells me that release Beta Version 3 early April 6. Here is a link for the scorecard for this blog.

1 comment:

deborah.salmi said...

Thanks, Bill, for introducing your readers to Web of Trust.

One of the most frequent questions we get at WOT is if the system can be manipulated. The developers have put great effort into making WOT as reliable as possible. The system uses sophisticated algorithms to calculate the reputation of each website. Statistical analysis will reveal attempts to manipulate the data. Obviously we cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, but based on our own observations and the feedback from our users, WOT provides ratings that are more accurate than those given by any other system on the market.

In order to keep ratings more reliable, WOT tracks each user's rating behavior before deciding how much it trusts the user. In other words, not everyone has an equal say in WOT. You must prove yourself before we take you seriously. This makes it even harder to manipulate the system.