[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[directory-discuss] Should we ban "Web of Trust, WOT: Website Reputation

From: David Hedlund
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

About the add-on and the company:


WOT Services

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the cryptography term, see Web of trust.
WOT Services, Ltd.
Industry Internet safety
Founded July 2006
Headquarters Helsinki, Finland

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 2009 MySQL founder Michael Widenius invested in WOT and became a member of the board of directors.[1]

The company has partnered with Facebook, hpHosts, LegitScript,, Panda Security, Phishtank, GlobalSign and TRUSTe.[2][3][4][5][6]

In November 2013 WOT surpassed 100 million downloads.[7]

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[8][9][10] 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.[11]

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".[12][13]

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 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.".[14]


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.[15]


The bad things with Web of Trust, WOT: Website Reputation Ratings


Web of Trust WOT Scam - possibly worst Internet scam ^

Posted on 2011-04-20 18:53:49 by DBCJR

This 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.

Response to WOT Services poster: The number of mechanisms in place to defend manipulations is irrelevant when the biases and manipulations are performed with the full knowledge and blessing of WOT, as it necessarily must be. WOT's documented sell-out and perversion of trust is not restricted to isolated exceptions as you are attempting to suggest, but is a chronic characteristic of WOT. I do not own any of the sites in question - I am 100% unbiased with no interest other than truth and exposure of corruption. The fact that WOT may be trusted by millions is an absurd statement that does nothing to make your case. Millions also trust pharmaceutical companies, doctors, fast-food restaurants and politicians to their great detriment.

Numerous examples abound regarding various alternative health therapy websites. (My tests were performed 2-3 years ago). For example, various sites pertaining to Jim Humble and MMS. Now, MMS is a thoroughly proven safe and wonderfully effective cure for many serious diseases and the websites in question are completely free of malware, disinformation or potential harm of any sort. The reviews were almost universally positive yet WOT gave them a dangerous rating. Why? The only possible reason can be manipulation by extremely powerful and well-funded special interest groups who stand to lose much as MMS becomes ever more popular. It is extremely well documented that the pharmaceutical industry employs a considerable number of expert shills whose sole purpose is to discredit alternative cures all over the Internet. Pharmaceutical companies also spend far more money on lobbying than on research as well. WOT is certainly not immune to payoffs, just like the recent scandal. Other than MMS, there are countless additional examples, but the onus is on WOT to prove their honesty.

Trusted by millions

Hi Marcus.
WOT has many mechanisms in place to defend against such manipulation and biases. If you have an example to back your "informal tests" it would help us look into it and isolate any exception.
If you own such a site you can contact our support as a site owner.

WOT is trusted by a community of millions who rate, review and share their thoughts about sites.7

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]