MyWOT/WOT (Web of Trust) is a website reputation and review service that helps people make informed decisions about whether to trust a website or not. WOT is based on a unique crowdsourced approach that collects ratings and reviews.The safe browsing tool is available in two formats – users can either search a website's reputation on the WOT website or download a browser add-on that automatically checks every visited website's rating. The search feature allows people to assess the reputation and safety of any web address by typing the address into a search bar on the WOT website. Each web address is rated and assigned a score under two separate metrics – trustworthiness and child safety. User reviews are also presented underneath the scorecard for each website, expressing each user's own reason(s) for trusting or not trusting a given site. Website owners are also presented with the opportunity to claim their site, giving them the opportunity to communicate with their website's users. Site owners can also request a review of their site's reputation score and add a custom description of their site to the scorecard.
The installed browser add-on, available for Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera 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 Services 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.[not in citation given]
In November 2013 WOT surpassed 100 million downloads.
Aside from the WOT safe browsing add-ons, the company markets two other services – Filter by WOT and WOT Mobile.
Filter by WOT is a customizable web filter that allows users to choose what kind of web content they want to see. The service is available for Google Chrome as a free add-on. Apart from allowing users to control which sites, domains, or pages they want to display, Filter by WOT also has a keyword scanner that automatically blocks any page that a given keyword appears on.
WOT Services also offers a free app on the Google Play Store that notifies users when they browse unsafe websites on their mobile devices. The WOT Mobile application works on both the Chrome browser and users' native mobile browsers. WOT Mobile utilizes user reputation ratings to display warning notifications to users when they are about to browse websites with poor user ratings.
The website of WOT Services also has a community section with a forum and a blog. The forum is used for community members to discuss website ratings, security, and online safety. The blog is updated regularly with information for readers about browsing safely on the web. WOT Services also offers its original browser add-on for enterprise use. This allows companies to install the WOT add-on to employees' computers for free after each company's details are registered on the WOT website.
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.
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