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WOT's unique tools are powered by our global community of millions of users who have rated millions of websites based on their experiences. All websites' reputation ratings in WOT are based on ratings from our users. WOT also uses information from numerous trusted sources, such as phishing and malware blacklists, to provide the WOT community with real time information.
When someone first hears about the concept behind WOT, their first objection is that someone could easily spam the system with tons of ratings and rate down their competitors or otherwise manipulate reputations, but that's not true. In order to keep ratings more reliable, the system tracks each user's rating behavior before deciding how much it trusts the user. WOT applies sophisticated algorithms to detect and eliminate any manipulation of reputation.
WOT uses color-coded symbols to show the reputation of a site: Green indicates that the site is trusted by the community, yellow warns you to be cautious and red indicates potential danger. A gray symbol with a question mark means that there are not enough ratings to calculate. See the complete list of WOT icons.
WOT shows the reputation of a website in terms of four components:
- Vendor reliability
- Child safety
The first component reflects the overall trustworthiness of the site: Can it be trusted? Is it safe to use? Does it deliver what it promises? A poor rating may indicate Internet scams, identity theft risks, credit card fraud, phishing, viruses, adware or spyware. A rating of "unsatisfactory" indicates that the site may contain annoying advertisements, excessive pop-ups or content that makes your browser crash. A "poor" rating may also indicate that the site's content is not trustworthy.
Vendor reliability tells you whether the site is safe for buying and selling or for business transactions in general. An “excellent” rating indicates superior customer service, timely delivery of products or services and overall customer satisfaction. A "poor" rating indicates a possible scam or a bad shopping experience.
Child safety indicates if the site contains age-inappropriate material. This includes mature content meant for adults: Content depicting nudity, sexual content, violence, vulgar or hateful language or content that encourages dangerous or illegal activities.
We realize the average web user isn't a security professional and we don't expect them to go out and investigate random websites for safety. We have an active group of experienced users who review sites for technical safety and help the average user avoid security threats. We encourage users to share their experiences with the websites they already know, because they are uniquely qualified to do that. Being able to learn from other people's experiences is the whole reason for this service.
When you submit your own ratings, please bear the following in mind:
- By rating websites, you can share your knowledge with the community and help your fellow users
- Rate only those sites that you know • If you feel that a WOT rating for a site is incorrect, please provide your own rating
- You can rate a website only in the components that are valid and leave the other components unrated
- If you use a site that does not have enough evidence for calculating the rating - indicated by the symbol - please give a rating
Usually in reputation systems each rating is weighted equally and reputations are computed as the average of all ratings, which makes them extremely vulnerable to automated attacks. Therefore, we decided early on to value ratings by their merit and use some of the principles of Bayesian inference for combining the ratings into reputations. The short version is that the system analyzes each user's rating behavior from several aspects in order to determine their reliability. When you start using WOT, your ratings have little weight, but if you keep rating sites consistently, your ratings will be considered more reliable over time. The meritocratic nature of the system makes it far more difficult for spammers to abuse, because bots will have a hard time simulating human behavior over a long period of time.
While our primary source of knowledge is ratings from our users, we also take advantage of several carefully chosen trusted sources, such as listings of phishing sites from PhishTank. This provides WOT with a fast, automated, and reliable means of protecting our users from new, rapidly spreading online threats.
Contrary to what you may think, the number of ratings won't tell you the reliability of a reputation, and showing it could be misleading. WOT shows you the confidence indicator instead (the small human figures next to each rating symbol.) The confidence value tells you how reliable the rating system considers the reputation. It's based not only on the quantity of ratings, but also the estimated reliability of the users who rated the site.
- First you need to register as a WOT user. This gives you access to the Profile Page (click your user name at the top right to get there fast.)
- To view your ratings, select the My Ratings tab.
- You can delete a rating by clicking on the red X.
- To edit a rating, open the site's scorecard and click Edit my rating in the reputation rating area.
- When you have made the changes, click save.
Subdomains are often used with free hosting and social networking sites, for example. The WOT community can rate subdomains in exactly the same way as the members rate other domains. If WOT doesn’t have enough ratings for a specific subdomain, the subdomain inherits the parent domain's reputation. Once the system considers there to be enough supporting evidence to calculate a separate reputation for the subdomain, WOT will start to use it.
Similarly, the reputation of each subdomain contributes to the parent domain's reputation. If a domain has lots of untrustworthy subdomains, its reputation will suffer, and, therefore, the reputation of any new subdomains will suffer as well. We designed this logic within the WOT system to model the way trust works in real life.
If, ultimately, you can't find the answer you need, you can try asking the community in our forum