Internet safety star

View safety ratings for any Web site with this useful extension.

As wonderful as the Internet is, it has its seedy underbelly, too: Web sites that will rip you off, spam your e-mail account, infect your computer with malware, steal your identity, expose your kids to inappropriate content, and all kinds of other bad stuff. Wouldn't it be great if you could somehow know about other people's experiences with particular Web sites? That's the idea behind WOT, or Web of Trust, an online community that lets people share their Web experiences via extensions for a variety of different browsers. We tested the Chrome version of the extension and it did not disappoint.

Using WOT is incredibly easy. Like other Chrome extensions, it appears as a small icon to the right of Chrome's address bar. The icon changes color depending on the quality of each particular Web site you visit, based on other users' ratings. A dark green icon means you're in the clear, while a red one is cause for serious concern; orange, yellow, and light green cover the areas in between. Sites are rated on four metrics: Trustworthiness, Vendor Reliability, Privacy, and Child Safety. Clicking on the icon lets you view a site's rating in each of these categories and enter ratings of your own. WOT doesn't require registration, but if you choose to register you can take advantage of additional features, such as the capability to create a profile and write comments on sites' scorecards. We surfed around to several popular Web sites as well as a few shadier ones with WOT enabled, and its ratings seemed reliable to us. One particularly bad site really set off WOT's alarms, and it displayed a warning message that we had to click through in order to access the site. We especially liked that the WOT icon appears next to site names in search engine results, letting you know whether or not a site is safe before you click on it. The extension is supported by plenty of online documentation and there are lots of options for customizing WOT's behavior. Overall we were quite impressed with WOT and we think it's a great collaborative way to help ensure Internet safety.

WOT installs and uninstalls without issues. We highly recommend this extension to all users.

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