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Today is the 5th anniversary of the idea behind WOT

There are several dates that can be celebrated as WOT’s birthday such as the date when the company was founded, the date when the first version of the add-on was released to the public or the date when the company got its first investment. Maybe the most important, however, is the 18th of October, 2005 – exactly 5 years ago – the date when the idea of WOT was born.

The idea of WOT, by our founders Timo Ala-Kleemola and Sami Tolvanen, has remained the same since the beginning: To create a community-based tool that boosts trust on the web. The add-on itself, however, has required some modifications before becoming the world’s leading safe surfing tool. Let’s take a look at the stages of WOT’s metamorphisis.

Sketching the first draft

The first draft of the WOT add-on looked significantly different than the add-on of today. Reputation was shown in a two-dimensional scale of trustworthiness and reputation.

WOT addon early draft


Testing the idea

A limited audience of about 100 people tested the alpha version of the add-on. The feedback was mainly positive – enough for Sami and Timo to publish it to the big audience. "We definitely wanted to go on after the good feedback, it was quite inspiring", Sami recollects.



Launching to the public

The official launch of the WOT add-on was in September 2006. The "donuts" were the reputation symbols right from the start. "We thought about balls and stars and warning triangles…There’s no particular reason why we ended up with the donut shape. I think it was a good decision though, everybody likes donuts", Timo explains smiling.

"Choosing the same shaped icons for each reputation level made us create the color blind version of WOT. We wanted everybody to be able to use WOT," he continues.


Introducing the little guys

The next update of the add-on appearance took in place in 2007. In the previous versions the confidence value of the reputations had been shown as a vertical bar. In the update the little guys that represent the supporting evidence were introduced.

"The outcome was nice but something more was needed. We wanted to give the users the option to share their opinions beyond just ratings, so we started to plan the scorecard where the option for commenting would be included." Sami explains.


…and ending up where we are now!

In 2008, the add-on got its current look, including the reputation scorecard. WOT is now used by nearly 15 million Internet users boosting trust on the web, just like Sami and Timo planned five years ago.

Invite your friends to join!

Where shall we be in five years? The more people who use WOT, the safer and more trustworthy the Internet is for shopping, searching and browsing online for web surfers of all ages. Invite your friends to join WOT now to create a safer and more trustworthy Internet for 2015!

Read the background story behind WOT.

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