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WOT: Web of Trust Browser Extension
By: Barzan 'Tony' Antal
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    Table of Contents:
  • WOT: Web of Trust Browser Extension
  • WOT in Detail
  • More about WOT
  • Final Thoughts

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    WOT: Web of Trust Browser Extension - WOT in Detail

    (Page 2 of 4 )

    First of all, itís time for us to look at the company thatís behind Web of Trust. Web of Trust and WOT are registered trademarks of Against Intuition Inc., a company headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. They focus on developing and providing software and services to the WOT community to pursue the common goal, which is making the Internet safer by letting users share their experiences.

    The foundation of WOT lies within the community. The ever-growing Web of Trust community encompasses hundreds of thousands of users from all over the world. Their mission is to share their online experiences, meaning their opinions and thoughts about websites and services. They warn and advise each other by commenting and rating sites appropriately; thus, reputation can be calculated.

    Each one of us is welcome to join the community as long as we share their interests and honestly want to help. In a sentence, the vision of the WOT society is to bring back trust to the Web. You can take an active part of the community by rating and commenting, if need be, the websites that you frequent, but thatís not necessary. You can also passively surf the web more safely, benefiting from the ~20 million rated sites.

    The screenshot above exemplifies the way WOT reports the rating of a website. In the example, the website (MTV.com) is shown as a ďgreen circle," meaning that it is safe. You can also check out the individual marks of each of those four factors: child safety, privacy, vendor reliability, and trustworthiness.

    In this particular case, MTV isnít on the rightmost end only on the scale of child safety, but thatís acceptable since letís face it, sometimes these superstars speak and behave in ways that some may consider either offensive or harmful to children. But the MTV.com site is by no means dangerous or suspicious at all. A safe surfing experience is guaranteed. And you arenít going to be warned prior visiting.

    Moreover, you also have the ability to rate the website according to your own opinion. Leaving a comment is preferred because it allows you to explain your reasons/arguments for your marks. At the Website Reputation Scorecard these comments are visible for everybody. Reputations are centralized on the main WOT servers and the re-calculated (refreshed) every 30 minutes to reflect changes.

    Now that you know how WOT behaves when visiting safe sites, letís see how it tries to warn the user in case of dangerous and malicious websites. In the screenshot below, as you can see, the site is loaded in the background but the WOT notification screen in black takes over and explains the problem. It warns the user that the siteís rating on three factors is below neutral (simply put, not safe).

    Nevertheless, should the user still want to continue and browse the page anyway, he or she has the option to do so. The WOT add-on wonít limit your ability to view websites unless the parental control feature is activated. Within the ďSettingsĒ menu panel users can specify their settings, such as blocking sites that arenít appropriate in terms of child safety (meaning reputation = below neutral on that scale).

    And finally, as we all know, using search isnít a big deal, but knowing which of the results from the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) are reliable and from trusted sources can create a dilemma every now and then. The WOT plug-in seamlessly integrates with most of the popular search engines. Below you can see a Google example. After each link title thereís a rating circle (either green or red).

    Who would have guessed the second hit on the first page is a malicious website? Well, it makes sense, since it is offering free downloadable rock songs.

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