In my opinion, and a few others in my office, this is one of the best sites for solving IT problems. I am a developer and find this resource excellent for solving problems.
I don't understand why it's rated so badly!
I'm guessing many of the users that write negative reviews are butthurt they come across a Google result and find they have to sign up and pay to see the solution. I myself am a paying user (been so for 3 years, I pay by the month, and when I have that, I have no ads or malware), and have not only received very useful help, but also gave help to others when it was needed.
While you might be able to find info free on other sites, you end up paying in terms of time lost. I can get my answer in a fraction of the time than what I would searching on the Internet. Plus, being that it is an EXPERT COMMUNITY, you're going to have more people who know what questions to ask, or what suggestions to try, instead of useless comments I've seen in Google searches.
I really do not have a problem with the site. I've used it from time to time and for the most part I have found the information useful. Just look at the interface! There has to some cost in maintaining the website. Often "free advice is worth what you paid for it"
You could spend hours searching through a bunch of forums with unanswered or "me too" replies or you can quickly find useful stuff on ee.
I haven't been a member for more than a year now but in the past I probably was a member for at least three years. They helped me solve many technical problems.
Also, at some point it turned out I was being charged for an old account I used to keep. Their customer services kindly refunded the money I had paid. Today, there are many free help sites, that's the only reason I'm not a member anymore.
The serious accusations about this site really surprised me. For years I've read advice from it whenever it comes up in my search results (the threads have so far been visible to non-members if you know where to look). The info has often been very useful, and often more finely tuned and specific than what was found on the same subject at leading free forums. It's not unusual to see an issue resolved within a few posts here, that goes on for pages most other places.
Reward systems can of course encourage faster and more committed help too. A friend once needed help asap with equipment I was unfamiliar with, so I named some popular free forums, but included this one on the possibility that the paid nature might contribute to a faster turnaround. She chose it, it worked out, and she said the experience was very good.
I do not know about factors such as the site's host, domain or payment security (nor actual on-demand member experience), which are of course very important. But as for mere baseline acceptability of offering and ethics of business model, I feel maybe it's often judged by criteria that shouldn't be applicable to the objective here. It's not a scam or unethical to choose to 'monetize' a legit service type (and they're not flooding search engines with some claim that they're the only effective way out of your issue or anything), even if similar can be had for free elsewhere. And there's no defacto requirement that in order to be considered ethical at all, one must have pretty much the best offering available before they can charge for theirs.
There's a large and logical gap to be filled between free at-home tech help options, and costly phone, remote or in-person options. Not saying I think this site has achieved it, but trying to is a worthy enough objective.
WOT is not about if you like or don't like a site. I'm really considering uninstalling WOT, the idea is great but community is giving it a misuse to degrade site trust. Do you know what is phishing or scam ? Did you know that your vote is damaging a company that may be took years of hard work to consolidate ? Do you understand that may be your company or project could be the next to be damaged ?