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Web of Trust (WOT) is a community-based safe surfing tool that uses an intuitive traffic-light style rating system to help Internet users stay safe as they search, browse, and shop online. The WOT security add-on provides safety ratings to search results when using Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, and other popular sites, helping people protect their computers and personal information. Web site ratings are continuously updated by millions of members of the WOT community and from numerous trusted sources, such as phishing site listings. The free Internet security add-on works with Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers and can be downloaded at http://www.mywot.com.


Company History

Based in Helsinki, Finland, WOT Services Ltd. (formally known as Against Intuition, Inc.) was founded in 2006 by two graduate students: Timo Ala-Kleemola and Sami Tolvanen. WOT Services focuses on developing and providing software and services for the WOT community and on promoting the community's goals. In February, 2009, Michael "Monty" Widenius, founder of MySQL and a guru for the global open source movement invested in WOT. The Finnish Industry Investment Ltd. is an existing shareholder.

How WOT works

WOT allows users to add their input on the trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and/or child safety of a website based on their experience with the site and/or services they offer. The rating scale ranges from poor to excellent and is algorithmic. WOT calculates the reputation of a website through a combination of user ratings and data from trusted sources such as hpHosts Legit Script Panda Security, PhishTank, and TRUSTe.

Browser integration

WOT is available as an add-on for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and as a bookmarklet for Opera, Google Chrome, Safari, and any other browser supporting JavaScript and bookmarks/favorites. After downloading the add-on to the user's browser, the WOT logo appears in the web browser's navigation toolbar. When the user navigates to a website, the color of the logo will change color based on a traffic light system (Green, Light Green, Yellow, Light Red or Red); depending on the reputation of a website determined by its users.

Availability The add-on works with Firefox on all platforms and Internet Explorer on Windows. The user interface comes in 14 languages and a colorblind accessible version. With the Apple Safari Browser running on iOS5 on devices such as the Apple iPad the WOT bookmarklet can be used to display WOT ratings for a given site in a pop-up window.

Rating Components

WOT uses two categories to determine what they consider to be the reputation of a website.

    Trustworthiness - The "poor" rating indicates Internet scams like lottery or identity theft risks, credit card fraud, phishing, spyware, adware, malware or computer viruses. The site may obtain a rating of "unsatisfactory" if it contains unnecessary advertisements, excessive pop-ups, or content that makes the browser crash.(Trust may also refer to the believability of the content.)
    Child safety - Indicates whether the site contains age-inappropriate material of a sexual, hateful, or violent nature, or content that encourages dangerous or illegal activities.
Rating symbols

WOT rating icons This content has an uncertain copyright status and is pending deletion. You can comment on its removal.

After using a popular search engine like Google, a tiny icon appears beside the link—green for go, yellow for proceed with caution and red for stop. WOT warns about sites that can damage files on your computer, or cause other trouble. WOT ratings are shown on Google, Yahoo!, Gmail, Wikipedia, Digg, del.icio.us, AOL, MSN and other popular sites.

Website security scorecard

WOT Website Reputation Scorecard

The Website Security Scorecard was introduced with WOT version 3. The scorecard shows data on popularity, a link to the WHOIS domain entry, detailed rating information with graphics, and a section for user comments and references. The references come from negative sources such as phishing, malware, and spam blacklists or positive sources like del.icio.us, Digg, or Wikipedia.

Rating quality

Ratings in WOT measure the overall trust users have in a website in addition to its safety. Therefore, a website that might technically be safe to visit can still have a bad rating if large enough portion of the community has indicated lack of trust for the site.

Ultimately, the accuracy of the resulting ratings depends on the accuracy of the submitted opinions. User participation might also lead to biased ratings, especially if only a few users have rated a website. Concerns have been raised that some WOT users may not be knowledgeable enough about the personal data management of a website to provide accurate ratings concerning privacy, for example, which could lead to good sites being rated bad and vice-versa. These issues have, in part, been mitigated by using Bayesian-based statistical analysis on the ratings and automatically giving the ratings of trusted users a greater influence.


WOT has a strict privacy policy. As noted in the website, "WOT goes to great lengths, and invests substantial resources, to avoid disclosing Personal Information. This includes the use of various state-of-the art anonymization, data cleaning and aggregation techniques to identify and remove Personal Information from information we collect with the goal of storing only Non-Personal Information."


PC Magazine The WOT add-on is reviewed by Neil Rubenking 
Softpedia The WOT add-on is reviewed by Ionut Ilascu, Editor, Software Reviews
BNET WOT is reviewed in BNET's Business Hacks by Rick Broida
cnet.com WOT for Internet Explorer 20090414 received a 5 star rating based on a June 10, 2009 review by CNET staff.
PC Welt The WOT add-on is recommended German PC Welt(a PC World publication) 
Gizmo Top Pick for Best Freeware Internet Security Check WOT won the top pick award at Gizmo's Best Freeware Internet Security Check
Recommended at Firefox Add-ons WOT is on the recommended add-ons rotation since July 2008 at Mozilla's Firefox Add-ons website.
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