WOT can we say? See? We told you so!

By | July 16, 2011
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We received the following comment from Terri on our Information Avenue site this week. We found it interesting – and we think you will too.

“One of our websites was hit on June 12, 2011, by one of the “Platinum” users using the “Mass Rating Tool”. If you look at all of his “Posts”, about a hundred have the same comment and rating, yes that’s the so called beauty of “The Tool” it allows them to “Spam” someone’s good name. I’m not surprised our site got “found”, my husband makes WordPress Themes and his link is in all of his themes, so yes our website name is associated with about…well according to Google…917,000 listings.

Anyhow, this “No Scams” person at “MyWoT” listed us as “Blog/Splog type link site to counterfeit websites, most likely from China. Beside bad shopping experience you risk credit card phishing.” along with about 100 other sites that day. Funny thing is, our server is in the US, we are in Canada, even though we have the word “buy” as part of our URL, we don’t sell anything. My husband makes free Themes and free Plugins for WordPress.org, as well as helps an awful lot of people in the world. That’s what really gets me is that one of their “Platinum” users can use a “Spamming” tool to Ruin a persons reputation. And I’m sure they will come back and say it was some anonymous person from the net who rated us…but it actually does show this persons user name and I found the page we are on from June 12 of his history.

Sorry I guess I just have to rant, because I don’t know the person who did this and it’s obvious they don’t know us with the comment they made about our site.

Yes, I have emailed, I doubt that it will do any good, seeing how it hasn’t done anyone else any good.

If anyone has any “words of wisdom” for me that would be wonderful. Thanks for reading my rant.”

We’re not sure if we have any words of wisdom for Terri, but we can say we warned everyone quite a while ago that a community rating system – where those who rate the most sites are rewarded and encouraged – would end hurting innocent sites and cause WOT to stray from its stated mission of protecting users from truly dangerous sites.

The WOT (Web of Trust) rating system encourages abuse – and offers the company protection from defamation and libel lawsuits. Instead of taking responsibility for the ratings they give sites, they can simply say, “our community members rated the site and we are simply basing our ratings on our community’s input.” This shouldn’t fly in a court of law. A company like WOT should bear the burden if it rates innocent sites as dangerous and thus drives business or traffic away from them. If a mom and pop store provides a living for a family – a bad rating by WOT could take away that family’s income.

We said a long time ago that WOT needs to verify its ratings – and not depend on a handful of its community member armed with mass rating tools to rate sites poorly for no other reason than they had a bad experience with the site or they don’t agree with the site’s content. Or maybe had no experience with the site at all. It’s bad enough that WOT doesn’t take responsibility for the ratings it publishes, but that it rewards and encourages this mass-rating mania is unconscionable.

Now WOT has sold its services to Facebook, schools, and even law enforcement. WOT is selling Safe Site Badges to sites willing to pay for them. In short, WOT is profiting while site’s like Terri’s husband’s are being hurt.

WOT needs to be held responsible for ratings which are baseless and unfounded. WOT needs to control its community and not encourage and reward users who post tens of thousands of ratings.

The only way to get WOT to listen and to stop them from hurting sites that are not dangerous is for people to stop using WOT. Most current version browsers have anti-phishing site and fraudulent site filters. People need to stop depending on WOT to tell them which sites are safe and which are not – because honestly WOT’s community doesn’t seem to know. WOT should have concentrated its efforts on keeping people off of truly dangerous sites – not sites with content they don’t agree with – or totally innocent sites like Terri’s husband’s.

Using WOT’s toolbar will only end up damaging the reputation of more innocent and/or non-dangerous sites. We frankly don’t care what WOT’s community thinks of sites with whom they don’t agree. We think WOT should have stuck to its original mission of protecting users from dangerous sites – but it has gotten so far from that mission that we would never consider using WOT on our computers.

5 thoughts on “WOT can we say? See? We told you so!

  1. John Hatchard

    Seems WOT has got a touch of the Murdoch’s! Has it also outlived its ‘use by’ date perhaps?

  2. Kraftwerk

    LOL – ask them about the outcome of the oral hearing that happened on August 9, 2011 in Florida, USA. I am sure that that lawsuit is still on or else they would have boasted they got out clean. I don’t think that will happen – their libal has to stop.

  3. Tammo

    The more a site is being rated, the more reliable the WOT score gets. Now take a look at this site’s current score: dark green = very reliable. Quite different from the Florida crooks who sued WOT. The judge found their suit was completely without merit and dismissed the case with prejudice, lol. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WOT_Services,_Ltd.#Lawsuit

    1. infoave Post author

      Actually we never mentioned the lawsuit because there are literally millions of frivolous lawsuits filed each year. WOT doesn’t have to worry about lawsuits because they can use the YouTube copyright-violation defense which goes something like: “Gee! We’re sorry. But we are not responsible for the ratings. We rate sites based on our “community members” ratings.So take your lawsuit and go away.” And you know as well as we know those ratings are skewed in favor of the opinions of a handful of poor attention-hungry community members who apparently have no other way of getting recognition in life. WOT gives those silly platinum awards to those who post the most ratings – ACCURATE or not.

      A handful of people in WOT’s “community” rate hundreds of thousands of Web sites using WOT’s own automated rating software, thus skewing WOT’s rating results and making WOT the most unreliable safe-surfing toolbar – and there are several very unreliable toolbars – anyone can install.

      WOT’s toolbar is more a censorship toolbar than a “safe-surfing toolbar – unless you consider people whose religion and political leanings which differ with yours as “dangerous”. For instance, you’d be hard pressed to find a pro-communism site with a good rating or a Christian site with a poor rating. You’d look around quite a while to find a good rating for a religious site which doesn’t happen to be Christian – or a political site which isn’t right-leaning or pro-democracy. A site which leans to the left or promotes any political system other than democracy or an economic system other than capitalism would find it difficult to get a good rating from WOT. This is interesting since Sweden adheres to socialism – and Sweden is the home of WOT – is it not?

      And we are certainly not expressing an opinion on politics or religion although it should be our right to do so if we were of that ilk. But when WOT’s goofy cadre of attention-craving no-nothings decides to prostelyze via a toolbar or censor sites based on their own beliefs then that is censorship. And you can’t call it anything else. WOT’s toolbar is one of the few free software programs on the Web that is worth less than what you pay for it. It’s worth less than nothing because it’s more than worthless – it’s dangerous. I would even go so far as to say it’s worse than many of the things it claims to protect you from.

      I’ve allowed your narrow-minded post because it points out another problem with things on the Web. People don’t read – they skim. We never ever pointed to that crazy lawsuit – it was someone, who, like you posted a comment. Obviously it will be a cold day in Hell before anyone ever successfully sues WOT. The people of WOT are smart and hide behind their shield of community members. WOT will never be successfully sued – no matter how many small sites they put out of business. And that is too bad. WOT will be sold to the highest bidder soon – that’s the plan. Isn’t it?

      This site’s current score is good on WOT. I happen to believe WOT isn’t foolish enough to rate this site poorly. That would look like sour grapes and be more proof that we are right. We will continue to advise our readers to avoid censorship toolbars like WOT. Perhaps a few years ago toolsbars like WOT were necessary, but now most modern browsers do a really good job of steering users away from phishing sites. And good antispyware and anti-virus will keep users from dangerous downloads.

      The last thing we need in a world where people are slowly losing their individual freedoms, in censorship. And WOT’s toolbar is more a censorship toolbar than anything else.

      We’ve proved how WOT rates sites and that proof didn’t mention any lawsuit – just a handful of nutjobs – members of WOT’s so-called “community” who’ve “earned” platinum awards and now run loose on the Web armed with automated rating software (provided to them by none other than WOT).

      Your defense of WOT is two-pronged and wrong: Because a lawsuit was thrown out against WOT does not mean WOT is reliable or its ratings accurate. And because they happen to rate our site “Safe” doesn’t mean anything. We never said all of WOT’s ratings are wrong. Many small sites have been hurt by WOT — many safe sites. Many other sites are unfairly rated because WOT’s basic way of rating sites is seriously flawed.


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