Dan agrees: “What’s up with WOT?”

By | May 14, 2011
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Dan shares some of his observations about WOT (Web of Trust)
“jeff134” This user posted about 200,000 negative posts. On a whole assortment of webpages including the vastly important Erowid on 4/30/11 as soon as I saw how much power they gave one individual I realized the scam that WOT had degenerated into. I have seen false positives. But worse there are A LOT of false claims all over the place now. I’m telling you they gave http://www.megavideo.com a good rating even though there are 14 pages of bad comments from their own community about the viruses and scams that I have seen for myself. So how did WOT come to that conclusion?! Things like live jasmen a viral popup that has always been negative is suddenly positive. Something rotten is going on. They need to reveal what their practices are on ratings before they have too much power.

Our answer
Thanks, Dan. Within the coming 12-18 months, users are going to finally awaken to the fact that these community-based, so called democratic Web-site rating systems are scams, perpetrated by very smart, very savvy companies to dupe Websites into paying for “Seals of Trust” or other some such nonsense. As more and more good sites are wrongly and maliciously mislabeled and denigrated by these site-rating programs, the truth will (hopefully) finally come out, and the whole community-based site-rating ruse will fade away.

We blame WOT for a lot of what’s going on. Before WOT became so popular and powerful, site-rating programs were basically benign – and few paid attention to them. And, yes, we take some of the blame for WOT’s rapid rise and prodigious gain in site traffic and popularity; we made a horrible mistake by promoting when they were new. At first we were fooled too. Then we realized that WOT’s community is controlled by gangs of anonymous cyber-thugs; a few people rule WOT’s rating system, and hence, WOT’s site ratings. And WOT’s management hides behind a wall of lovely-sounding words and idealistic promises, extolling the virtues of its democratic rating system, while beneath this friendly, pleasant facade boils a vile cauldron – a community ruled by a few who get attention and prestige by posting hundreds of thousands of worthless, negative posts, and getting awards and recognition from WOT’s management.

Like the firewall and spam filter craze of a few years ago, all the big-name security companies are starting to add site-rating features (all community-based to keep the lawsuits at bay). It’s too bad.

The only way to stop the juggernaut of “safe-surfing” programs is for people to stop using them, and stop using security programs that include them. Also, everyone who uses AVG or AVAST or any of the other security programs which now include safe-surfing or Website-rating components, should write the companies and tell them what they think of them. Until the average user rebels at having good sites needlessly censored and bad sites buying badges to get good ratings – many trusting users and many innocent Web sites are going to get hurt.

Rating a site for harmful content should be left to highly sophisticated software designed for this purpose, as people cannot make this call reliably. Reviews by visitors and customers should be left for sites like Cnet, shopping sites, download sites, etc., where visitors can leave reviews based on their own actual experience, as opposed community-based ratings (like WOT) where anonymous individuals race to rate the most sites for “prestige” amongst peers and participation” awards” from WOT, which further exacerbate the problem.

Dan’s comments came after reading our article about WOT. If you’re interested, you can read it here.

2 thoughts on “Dan agrees: “What’s up with WOT?”

  1. shari carter

    Um,are you now saying that AVG (which I have and which I thought you recommended), and Avast, (with which I’m not familiar) are NOT good? I’m confused. Also,I’m saddened to hear that WOT is a bad guy.

    1. infoave Post author

      We haven’t recommended AVG in over 4 years. We’re disappointed that Avast has decided to add a site-rating feature – as well as become aggressive about their security suite. AVG has been less than adequate for many years – and we haven’t recommended them since 2006 for that reason.


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