|Subject:||[directory-discuss] Should we ban "Web of Trust, WOT: Website Reputation Ratings"|
|Date:||Sun, 01 Nov 2015 09:19:24 +0100|
|User-agent:||Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Icedove/31.8.0|
Should we ban the Firefox add-on "Web of Trust, WOT: Website Reputation Ratings" from the FSD?
The rating is 3/5 at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/wot-safe-browsing-tool/
About the add-on and the company:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the cryptography term, see Web of trust.
WOT Services, Ltd is a Finnish company that runs the partly crowdsourced Internet website reputation rating tool WOT (Web of Trust). The installed WOT browser add-on, available for Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, shows its users the reputations of websites, which are calculated through a combination of user ratings and data from other sources. To generate revenue WOT licenses the use of its reputation database to other businesses.
WOT was founded in 2006 by Sami Tolvanen and Timo Ala-Kleemola, who wrote the WOT software as post-graduates at the Tampere University of Technology in Finland. They launched the service officially in 2007, with serial entrepreneur and angel investor Esa Suurio as CEO. In November 2009 Suurio moved on to his next endeavor.
In November 2013 WOT surpassed 100 million downloads.
The rating tool
According to the company information the WOT software computes the measure of trust the rating users have in websites, combined with data from, among others, Google Safe Browsing. The WOT browser add-on is available for all major operating systems and browsers. To view or submit ratings, no subscription is required. To be able to write comments on score cards and in the forum, one needs to be registered.
The add-on sends user ratings to the WOT site, and it determines how the computed results are displayed, depending on user's settings. For instance, when visiting a poorly rated site, a warning screen may pop up, or only a red icon in the user's browser tool-bar is shown. Color-coded icons are also shown next to external links on the pages of leading search engines, on email services, on social network sites, and on Wikipedia.
Ratings are cast by secret ballot. They can be given in the categories "trustworthiness" and "child safety". To specify at least one reason for a rating is mandatory, via multiple choice in the rating interface.
The user rating system is meritocratic; the weight of a rating is algorithmically calculated for each user individually.
The New York Times and the Washington Post made mention of WOT and the add-on was mentioned and reviewed by the trade press and download sites. The reviewers opinions vary from good to excellent, though some critical remarks were made.
PC Magazine's Neil Rubenking concluded "Web of Trust's protection is free, and it doesn't impact browsing speed; it's well worth trying out". However, on the minus side he found several clearly adult sites unrated and he wished WOT would also rate sponsored search results, like its main competitors do.
PC World's Preston Gralla concluded: "Try WOT (Web of Trust), an excellent--and free--browser add-on that offers protection", and Rick Broida wrote in an article "I also highly recommend Web of Trust, a free browser plug-in that shows you if Web links are safe--before you click them".
Softpedia reviewer Ionut Ilascu wrote: "The reliability of the service has grown in the past years, despite voices accusing it of being exactly the opposite of what it should be, and proof is the collaboration with Facebook, Opera and Mail.ru Group.", concluding "As a service, WOT (Web of Trust) may be viewed as biased, but the latest developments in balancing the user opinion in order to provide relevant information point to the contrary. The extension is non-obtrusive but still has room for improvements.".
In 2011 a lawsuit in Florida, USA against WOT and some of its forum members, demanding to remove ratings and comments, was dismissed with prejudice. In Germany some preliminary injunctions were issued by courts, to delete feedback.
The bad things with Web of Trust, WOT:
Website Reputation Ratings
Posted on 2011-04-20 18:53:49 by DBCJRThis is supposedly a safe browser add-on that will help protect against dangerous or fraudulent websites. Users are supposed to rate sites good or bad. But WOT actively rewards users who specialize in giving negative reports. Some of their top-rated users have done tens of thousands of negative reports, and it is obvious they are not really rating sites accurately. WOT's own statistics show that the overwhelming majority of ratings are negative. The developers of WOT are in the business of selling security seals for websites, so they have a vested interest in making website owners afraid of negative ratings. It is typical for harmless websites to have negative ratings, which cause scary warning messages to pop up in the browser of anyone who has installed with WOT plugin. If the website owners aren't using WOT, they may never even know they have been targeted. At the same time, there are a number of dangerous or fraudulent sites which have no ratings or good ratings from WOT. Overall, the ratings are worthless to consumers and possibly very harmful to people running reputable online businesses. Then, when you realize that this plug-in is worse than useless and uninstall it, it is never really completely uninstalled, but leaves hidden traces behind, in the same way that spyware does. Stay away from this terrible product.
Not trustworthy! Rated 1 out of 5 stars
I did a series of informal tests recently on
several controversial subject areas (I'm a research professor) and
quickly concluded that WOT is heavily biased toward certain
powerful special interest groups. ANY information that contradicts
them is downgraded despite the almost complete lack of negative
reviews and a plethora of positive reviews, including numerous
sites that I I know to be reliable. Evidence clearly proves that
WOT is heavily biased and not to be trusted.
Trusted by millions
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