If you’ve ever ended up with a virus on your machine because of a Google search gone wrong, then you probably wish you had some way to know whether or not that site that seems so perfect for what you’re looking for actually is what it claims to be before clicking that link. With the Chrome extension WOT, and the related site, Web Of Trust, you will have a good idea if the site your search brought you is reputable, or if you’re about to dive headfirst into an online trap.
The concept behind WOT is simple. Every time you do a search, their “traffic lights” appear next to the search link. Green means that the site has had positive reviews in all areas (Trustworthiness, Vendor reliability, Privacy, and Child Safety, respectively). Yellow means there have been some complaints and some questionable activity, but overall you’re still basically okay. A red site you want to avoid – it failed in one or more of WOTs categories based on other users’ ratings and might very well be dangerous – either to your computer, or (if Child Safety is what it failed) your mind.
Hovering your mouse over the offered traffic light will give you that site’s report card. This card shows you, based on the tally, exactly how the site measures up. If you’re looking for reports of violent crimes for a statistics class, the fact that the site you are about to visit failed Child Safety probably isn’t surprising. But if you’re looking for a place to pre-order the latest music or eBook and Vendor Reliability is in the red, you probably want to look somewhere else.
Other than assisting you in search results, WOT checks every website you visit and if you ever happen to accidentally visit a bad website, WOT provides you a warning and gives you a chance to leave the website before actually loading it.
WOT stands for Web Of Trust. You can create a profile on their site to be able to put your input on your favorite sites as well – or potentially try to fix some that have been downrated wrongfully. This, after all, relies on human honesty, and sometimes there are just too many trolls out there on the internet. That being said, keep in mind WOT is a guideline. It isn’t the end-all and be-all of the internet, nor can you make every decision based on it’s suggestions. But when it comes down to whether or not to click that pretty blue link, sometimes it helps to have a better idea of where you’re going.
Version reviewed: 1.3.1