• Report: #659906

Complaint Review: Web of Trust

  • Submitted: Tue, November 09, 2010
  • Updated: Mon, December 12, 2011

  • Reported By: Joshua — Mundeliein Illinois United States of America
Web of Trust
It Internet United States of America

Web of Trust My Web of Trust, http://mywot.com 12,000,000 Users Trust This Scam Helsinki, Internet

*General Comment: WOT - Web of Trust: A dubios Mozilla Firefox Ad On

*General Comment: MyWOT does not understand Likert's scale!

*UPDATE Employee: WOT responds to misinformation

*Consumer Comment: "WEB POEM 2"...

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My Web of Trust (http://mywot.com) is an add on for browsers to ensure users of this product they are entering a secure website, which is trusted by 12 million people. However, what this vast number of people do not realize is this a complete scam.  What happens is someone can login to the WOT account, and rate a site as phishy or unsecure for absolutely no reason at all. When this happens, anytime a customer goes to your website, a large popup will occur stating this is an unsafe site, and you should not proceed.  This is ridiculous since WOT does not have any means of checking to see if this information is infact accurate. They just go off of that single rating inputted by a random person. Now, the only way to have this popup removed is to either buy thier "Web of Trust Seal" which costs $451/year, or have tons of people sign up for an account  in their system, which in turn will bring the company more revenue as well.  You see, 1 positive rating does not negate 1 negative rating. It takes at least 15 or more (not sure on the exact number, because I have only had about 8 people rate it, but we are still far into the red) in order to get yourself, so this unsecure popup does not appear on a users screen.

The worst part of this all may be there are tons of rumors flying around the internet saying that WOT will actually go in themselves, and give your site a bad rating, just so you either buy their trust seal, or have many others sign up as well. I do not have a strong basis to back this up... I have just seen this quite a few times on reviews of their business. If this is true, that is positively despicable. If it is not true, you can still see why this is a serious problem/scam which I believe users need to become aware of.  Also, someone with the exact opposite issue can take advantage of the users' trust in Web of Trust. Since My WOT does not ever check the websites being rated, or the sites of the seals being purchased... If someone who has nothing but the worst intentions for the use of their website can easily go in, purchase Web of Trust's Seal, and automatically be Trusted by this company. In-turn relaying trust to the 12,000,000 users of Web of Trust's Scam. This means phishing sites, porn sites which target children, etc.  This also concludes there are thousands of hard-working people simply trying to run a successful online business, but are unable to due to scams like this. My Web of Trust is a truly pathetic excuse for the reputation they want you to perceive. Because they are just the opposite. This company disgusts me in every way, and I believe once Web of Trust Users and all other internet users realize the true intentions behind http:mywot.com, they will be just as disgusted as I am.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/09/2010 08:51 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Web-of-Trust/internet/Web-of-Trust-My-Web-of-Trust-httpmywotcom-12000000-Users-Trust-This-Scam-Helsinki-659906. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 General Comment

WOT - Web of Trust: A dubios Mozilla Firefox Ad On

AUTHOR: Goodi - (United States of America)

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#2 General Comment

MyWOT does not understand Likert's scale!

AUTHOR: JD - (United States of America)

Reply to MyWOT rebutal...

I am getting pretty tired reading the same replies by Deb, Sami and the rest of WOT. Those replies read like boring marketing-text and the parrot-like repetitions start to show cracks while years go by as it becomes obvious that mywot.com is not what it would like to be: "a system to be trusted".

Having seen these answers over and over again, time has come to open my mouth.  So lean back and enjoy the ride!

Why not to trust MyWOT...

It's actually rather simple to explain why it's not a good idea to trust the "Web Of Trust".

They use a simple <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Likert_scale">Likert scale</a> as a rating system.

The format of a typical five-level Likert item is:

  1. Strongly disagree

  2. Disagree

  3. Neither agree nor disagree

  4. Agree

  5. Strongly agree

BUT - it is a known fact (not only among scientists) that  Likert scales may be subject to distortion from several causes:

  1. Respondents may avoid using extreme response categories (central tendency bias);

  2. agree with statements as presented (acquiescence bias);

  3. or try to portray themselves or their organization in a more favorable light (social desirability bias).

That "distortion" as described in Nr. 2 happens in - at least - two places at MyWOT:

  • activity points - people want to get platinum to gain access to the Mass Rating Tool as soon as possible;

  • "secret" user reputation - this is the individual user "trust" which represents the "power" a user has when rating a website.
The later (secret user reputation) also is part of Nr. 3: the social desirability bias. This "social desirability" is something which also is underlined in the community, where people get intimidated and slandered if they don't swim with the rest of the fish in there.

To keep it short: MyWOT got the Likert scale wrong.

Another reason why not to trust MyWOT...

If you look at it, the reason not to trust such a system become apparent. If you count in that you are also sharing your complete browsing history with MyWOT, you know that using such an "add-on" is anything but secure. Besides, where's the privacy in that? WOT rates websites down for using a tracking cookie while at the same time, WOT is acting like a tracking tool itself. Does "spyware" ring a bell?

If you're still unsure why not to trust MyWOT...

You need a third reason, don't you? I knew it.

Ok, here it is. A direct copy of their website's homepage description: "WOT is a community-based, free safe surfing tool for browsers that provides website ratings & reviews to help web users as they search, surf & shop online."

Let me break that down for you:

  1. WOT is a community-based, free safe surfing tool for browsers

  2. provides website ratings & reviews to help web users as they search, surf & shop online.

If you still dodn't get it: "WOT is about TRUST and NOT ABOUT SAFETY!"

Everyone rates what he or she thinks about a website like in: "Do I think this website is trustworthy?"

Think about that for a while...

Now ask yourself some questions:

  • Would you trust a website because a right-winged skinhead thinks it's trustworthy? MyWOT can't rule out that extreme right-winged or left-winged people using WOT to rate their own websites.

  • Do you think you're safe from visiting a pedophile's online photo gallery just because you are using WOT? Don't even start thinking that. If the pedophile finds enough friends that say his website is trustworthy, it will be rated "good". That's where WOT employees will give you their default reply "rate your own" which translates to "shut up and give us another rating because we live of those".

  • How much trust can they provide? Not much if you look at the percentage of domain names WOT has ratings for in comparison to the real number of domain names in use all over the internet. Remember that they only provide ratings about website WOT KNOWS, not the websites YOU VISIT. So you can throw the "trust" over board and spare yourself the burdon to install the add-on in the first place.

The truth is...

The truth is that MyWOT is run by a company that has to make money to survive. I know what's going to be replied so I'll specify this a bit more: their "sponsors" of ventured capital expect profit!

Selling "trust seals" is only a small part of the profit. The "anonymous website history" you send them with every website you visit is the real capital!

The result of all of this...

No matter how "nice" the marketing replies and mywot wiki links read and no matter how often MyWOT employees state "you don't understand the mywot system", there facts are different.

There are people that DO understand the system. Those people also see the failures WOT has, being a Likert-based rating and reputation system with missing distortion control.

Today, you've met one of those people: me.

I can already imagine what Sami (WOT) would reply... probably something that reads like "we have implemented solutions to that but I can't show them to you because our algorithm is secret".

Based on this presumption, I'll reply to that in advance:

Where is the reputation and trust MyWOT provides related to itself?

Don't tell me to look at your own, manipulated scorecard. Besides that, I have NEVER seen ANY proof to anything WOT said. They failed providing it themselves and they failed to provide it upon request. All the secrecy may be cool when you're working for a governmental intelligence agency, but when it comes to a reputation and trust system like MyWOT, such secrecy merely provides the nails to the coffin.

And if you need some last, wooden planks to close the coffin...

What about the lawsuit agains MyWOT? There was an oral hearing in Florida on August, 9th 2011 as Vesa (CEO of WOT) stated in the forum. Since then it has become awfully quite since. My best guess is that it's not done yet. If there would have been any good news after several years of struggling with it, I am sure that WOT would have issues an according press release or at least they would have dropped a line in the forum or on their blog. Looks to me it's not all "cake" in the WOT bakery.

On their homepage, they state that the WOT add-on has been downloaded around 25.000.000 times. Note that that's "downloads", not "active users"... they tend to "forget" to tell you emphasize the difference.

What they also forgot to explain is why that number said 12.000.000 last week and now shows 25.000.000 and counting. So after wasting precious 3 years to count those 12.000.000 downloads, they suddenly doubled their downloads in a week? I don't think so...

Why I personally will never use WOT again and tell everyone to avoid it?

I guess it's a "TRUST" thing. ;)
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#3 UPDATE Employee

WOT responds to misinformation

AUTHOR: Web of Trust - (Finland)

It sounds like you haven't understood how the rating system works and are intentionally providing misleading information about the trust seal. Allow me to clarify:

1. It should be noted that our reputations are not only about safety, they tell you how much other people trust websites. Of course, safety is an important factor here, because people rarely trust unsafe sites.

2. The rating system is meritocratic, which means ratings are weighted based on how reliable the user is considered. Whether the rating is positive or negative has nothing to do with how it's weighted. Users have to earn the system's trust before their ratings gain weight, which is why creating multiple accounts and spamming ratings for a site has very little impact on the reputation.

You can read more from our FAQ:


3. Reputations are not for sale. In fact, you can only buy a trust seal if your site has already earned a good reputation, and should the reputation go bad in future, you will lose the trust seal. WOT doesn't rate websites and has no incentive to rate sites poorly in order to sell you something:


If you have a problem with your site's reputation, you can post to our forum and request users to review the site:

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#4 Consumer Comment

"WEB POEM 2"...

AUTHOR: Karl - (USA)

is available at this site.

*Just type in 529757 and it appears in the consumer comments section at Ripoff Report #529757.

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