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Warning to all Webmasters and SEO Company’s – WOT – (Web of Trust).
This Company from Helsinki claims to offer:-
“Would you like to know which websites you can trust?”
What they don’t tell you is anyone, even children, can end up rating a web site. Anyone can play at being GOD to devastate well run legitimate web sites. When you sign up with WOT they encourage you to rate more sites so that you increase your activity score which gives you an increased weighting on your reviewing. We had four well established web sites based in the UK, that where all PCI compliant and each site had its own SSL certificate. Along came a reviewer based in Italy and suddenly all our sites where branded “WARNING THIS SITE HAS A POOR REPUTATION BASED ON USER RATINGS”. To make matters even worse, as one user brands your web site as POOR along comes all his chums and they also click the agree box, so now your are really in a difficult situation.
First we contacted WOT through their web site to say this cannot be correct and can you intervene?, a few days later their reply came:-
“If you have already followed the instructions outlined here then there is nothing else we can do to help”.
We had checked the FAQ section that they were referring to so they had confirmed nothing can be done. They clearly have created something that they refuse to police.
As we tried to find out what could have caused this terrible situation, we discovered through the Forum we could communicate with the reviewer. We asked why did you do this to our web sites?
Below are some of the reasons listed. The reviewer MARCO2981 was ranked as number five in the world of WOT reviews having reviewed over 54,000 web sites. This means that WOT give him a rating score so high that even if we managed to ask 50 customers to take the time to register and rate us correctly their combined rating would be unlikely to change the poor rating we now have.
Trying to stay at number five must means this reviewer cannot spend much time on each site and certainly would not take the time to read correctly the policy and other legal documentation on our sites. A quick condemnation of all our four sites and he was off. Lets wonder for a moment how many well run sites has he attacked and condemned over the years? He probably has no idea how his actions in five minutes can undo years of hard work to a small family run business. As his lust to stay at the top of the league continues he never look’s back or pauses for a second, to contemplate maybe he has got that wrong. MARCO2981. His picture not of himself but a cartoon image of throwing trash into a dustbin! This really does sum it up for us. He must think he is cleaning up the internet, however what is really happening is he is destroying the internet as we know it and as time passes Amazon and Ebay and the likes will become more dominant and there will become fewer and fewer smaller innovative web sites. This will have a knock on effect as many SEO Companies will then find less and less work is available.
We spent the following week actioning all the points that had been raised and duly email back to MARCO2981. We never received a reply or a rerating of our sites.
Below are listed the three issues that were common to all four sites:-
“Your domain is a personal domain and no address is available to see at Nominet (UK .co.uk registers)”
We wrote back saying the default in the UK was to not display your home address with a personal domain, however to try and appease these reviewers we agreed to contact Nominet and have the home address displayed for all to see. (This seems to contravene privacy)
“Your Company registered office was the home address”
The Accountants have now changed this at Company House so the registered office is now also the works Office address.
“Your SSL Certificates does not display any Ownership information.”
We pay £50 a year for each of four Separate SSL certificates and so contacted the provider to ask why ownership information was not shown. We wrote “Hi Support we have received some very negative feedback on our web sites from a "WOT" Web of trust reviewers. They are saying our SSL are not safe I believe because "This website does not supply ownership information."
Is it possible for us to enter ownership details? If so how do we do this?
Kind regards Andrew.
The reply from our SSL provider:-
Thanks for contacting us.
The level of detail depends on the SSL certificate purchased, as this is our SimpleSSL it does not contain much information on the site or owner.
It all comes down to 'cosmetic' preferences and if someone wants to examine the SSL cert details in more detail by viewing the properties of the cert.
i.e. - when you double click the 'padlock' icon on an SSL secured page > View Certificate > Details tab.
Domain authenticated SSL's (Standard SSL) will show and have information specifically about the domain name it is securing, where as the Simple SSL won't.
Then you have Extended Verification SSL which in the details will have both information about the domain but also about your company after extensive checks.
You could say 99% of the time no-one bothers to double click the padlock icon to check for these details and would then know what they're looking for - most people are just happy with a secured page”.
Next we received another comment from one of the WOT reviewers about our TrustWave Icons, you will see from below they are an International specialists in supporting PCI compliance (making sure web sites are safe and secure in all areas)” We had been advised by our International Bank to sign up with them as they are one of the best PCI specialists in the world.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Trustwave Holdings is a privately owned Information Security company that provides on-demand data security and payment card industry compliance management solutions. The company’s international headquarters is located in Chicago, and regional offices are located in London, São Paulo, and Sydney. Trustwave is currently the only company that is an authorized PCI Forensic Investigator in all geographic regions. On April 21 2011 Trustwave Holdings filed for IPO.
“BTW - I wouldnt waste your money on 'trust seals' from sites such as Trustwave. They are unreliable.”
My Advice to WOT would be let Goggle, Bing and the other search engines determine how good and safe a web site should be as they use many Algorithms and don’t rely on people’s misconceptions to try and make rash decisions on safe ecommerce web sites. Security software is great at offering adequate protection from dangerous sites.
This is the end of my experience with WEB OF TRUST and I thank you for taking the time to read this. Hopefully in time, additional steps will be put in place to protect secure well run sites, however until the day the Company Web of Trust decide to change and take some ownership for their actions, no webmaster is safe! You have been warned.
Agreed to a Bugle store as a one off payment to implement, a year later came the shock when a bill to pay arrived out of the blue. This has meant all trust in Freestart PLC has been lost.
Amazon now have so many international sellers, you may want to purchased a UK branded product to support the UK seller but end up receiving the item from another international country.
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