A Little Levity to Lighten the Load
Elder-Friendly Stores

Time Goes By Reputation Rating: “Very Poor”

blogging bug image Do you believe it when websites tell you they do not sell or share the personal information we are required to hand over when we register?

I don't. I mean, how would I know? How would anyone without subpoena power know unless they have dozens of email addresses and meticulously track which ones spawn spam?

But that's only one small and, probably, least important part of the issue in this post today.

In the past couple of months, there has been an increasing number of unsubscribes from Time Goes By. People unsubscribe for all kinds of reasons and certainly it can be that some don't like TGB, find me boring or have other things to do with their time. That's legitimate.

But with the uptick, several recent unsubscribers have emailed to tell me that a “reputation website” called MyWOT (Web of Trust) has given TGB its lowest rating, “very poor,” and they don't feel safe visiting my blog anymore. Here's a screen grab. (Click here to see a larger image.)

WOTScreenshot370

Investigating this site, I discovered that “they” didn't rate my blog at all; one or more anonymous people rated it. Who and how many did so is impossible to know without registering which I don't want to do because I don't trust them. More about that later.

MyWOT rating is in four categories:

Trustworthiness: I suppose that's subjective based on what someone thinks of my honesty and integrity.

Vendor Reliability: I don't sell anything so there is nothing to rate and it's hard to know why TGB would be given a poor rating for that unless someone just hates me.

Privacy: The only privacy issue at TGB are the email addresses of commenters. Those are never disclosed to readers and I don't share them with anyone. You can believe me or not, but I dare anyone to show that I have ever given an email address to another person.

Child Safety: There is no nudity, no pornography, no violence. Okay, once in a blue moon, I or a commenter uses the F or S word. So I guess they've got me there.

I poked around on the web to see what other people think of WOT. Firefox and other browsers supply an add-on toolbar that makes it easy to add a WOT rating for any site you visit. At Firefox, there are pages and pages and pages of complaints about WOT ratings, as there are at other places around the web. Some examples:

“I'm a developer myself and after deinstallation and something weird I noticed as I revisited the MyWot website, I discovered that the Addon 'seemed' to be uninstalled, but in fact the functionality to talk to the MyWot website was still in effect!“
“WoT is used to 'blackball' many political, special interest, cultural, and religious websites with false accusations of malware distribution, spamming, child porn, etc. in the service of opposing religious and political beliefs.“
“This seems to be a dangerous program allowing anyone to anonymously 'rate' any website they dislike or may wish to harm for whatever reason by clicking on one star, since it is not even required to give any reason for one's negative opinion.“
“Ratings are so inaccurate as to be worthless. If you use this as a sole guide as to whether or not a site is safe to view you are bound to get virus/trojan infections.“

Many others give MyWOT five stars but they are almost universally of the “this is awesome” type with no explanation or reason.

I believe I run a nice, little shop here so I was confused - and disturbed - enough to write the CEO of MyWOT to complain and got (in part) this reply, identical to what many other low-rated website owners have quoted around the web (this email arrived on the same miserable morning of which I wrote yesterday):

“Write your own comment on the scorecard and be sure to rate the site. If you own the site or work for it please state that in your comment

“Ask your friends and customers to rate the site.

“You may also want to consider opening a WOT forum thread and ask our active members to rate the site and give feedback about it. If you are an employee of the site or own it please state this in your post.”

So all those critics are correct – it's a popularity contest that is designed to be gamed, where you are encouraged to do so, and anyone who doesn't like you can malign your site or blog.

Hmmmm. I wonder if my "very poor" rating has anything to do with the fact that in the past couple of months I've blocked three or four readers from commenting for violating TGB rules of conduct.

And now, suspiciously, one day after that CEO replied to my complaint, the rating for Time Goes By has been upgraded from “very poor” to “unsatisfactory” which you can see here unless it has changed again.

It's bad enough that this little blog, where mostly elders chat about what it's like to get old, is rated so low it will scare away people who may not be web savvy enough to figure out MyWOT is a scam.

Site owners like me are left open to the libel of others without any recourse but to register to post self-serving ratings and to continue visiting to monitor changes in the site's reputation, thereby jacking up MyWOT's membership base and boosting their page view stats.

Except that I won't do that and neither should you.

While not trivial, reputation and readership of a personal blog are not life threatening. What's deeply disturbing and much more insidious about MyWOT, especially in these economic times, is that people who supplement their income or make their living from small, legitimate websites can lose a great deal of revenue when unscrupulous competitors trash their businesses on MyWOT.

And they might never know the reason.

PLEASE NOTE: This post is NOT, NOT, NOT asking you to vote up Time Goes By at MyWOT. There are enough complaints of sticky installations and other violations of best practices plus the possibility of using MyWOT ratings to land on a site with malware, spyware or worse that I don't want to be responsible for that happening to you.

However, do be warned that if you use MyWOT to choose websites to visit, the ratings can be false, misleading and useless at best, and they may or may not sell your personal information if you register. There is no way to know, but why take a chance on more spam from a website whose value is so questionable.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Ralph Lymburner: The Training Program


Comments

I'd never heard of MyWOT. I get confused with all the ratings and/or page view competition on the web. I like your site, learn a lot here and will continue to visit.

The people who don't feel safe visiting your blog anymore probably don't feel safe walking into their living room. Plus they have way to much time on their hands visiting sites such as MyWOT which I have never heard of.

Who gives a fig what MyWOT has to say?? TGB is a wonderful site with information and friendship for all. Don't give MyWOT another thought.

Never heard of MyWOT. Bet your score would go up if you ran ads -- their ads. Or used their search optimization racket -- or whatever they are selling. Nasty.

Very sad to learn about this. I'd guess you are the victim of those individuals you barred from commenting or some dedicated right-wing political extremists.

The great virtue of the Internet is its total freedom. Here we have a classic example of how freedom is lost. Thoughtless people abuse it, and that brings regulations restricting everyone.

The MyWOT people are doing serious mischief, and perhaps they don't even realize it. Sooner or later such conduct will bring on regulation, and we all will be poorer for it.

ACK! Manipulation of sheep too lazy to think for themselves. Who needs 'em.
Just keep on doing what you do.

I've almost always distrusted online rating systems as I'm aware of how easily they can be manipulated one way or another. I like your blog; I find it interesting, informative, educational, entertaining and important. Don't stop doing what you're doing.

I had never heard of them until now and hope I never do again. Wish I could rate THEM on a comparable ratings site. (Okay, no I don't, but it makes a nice thought, at least to me.)

You'd think anyone viewing that would go "hey wait a minute" at the vendor rating, considering the non-prevalence of ads here. :P

MyWOT? NOT!!!

Am happy to say that I, and apparently many of your other readers, depend upon my own judgement and personal experience to make decisions about anything I read, see or hear.

Even when someone I know and trust gives me their opinion, I, more often than not, check something or someone out for myself if there is a reason to have any contact with him/her/it.

I have a long-standing commitment to the old saw, "Never trust anything you read or hear and only half of what you see."

If people who read blogs can't make up their own mind about its contents and rely on some specious website to rate it for them, that says more about that individual than it does about the website ratings they took as credible.

What a bummer! OK,I won't try to annihilate them, if you say to ignore them, but, as you know, we old folks can be pretty formidable when riled up!

Yours is the only blog that, over time, I've continued to subscribe to. I came at first because I wanted to hear about "what it's really like to get older," and TGB does that. It helps that I agree with your politics (smile). But the main reason I keep on coming back is that you are such a good writer, and your posts never ramble on in an overly long, self-absorbed muddle. Even when you write about yourself, it's really about Everyelder.

Wow, the things I have never heard of appear to be never ending where it comes to the internet. I would not go checking any website though for ratings on trustworthiness as who knows if they are???

I have no idea why people would unsubscribe but I can tell why I never have subscribed to any blog. I don't want email notifications. I have a blog list alongside my blog that shows when someone wrote a new blog, that's the sum of my contribution to networking as I don't officially follow any blogs and those who 'follow' mine, I don't post that list alongside.

Basically I do that all for freedom. I don't need a notification in email to decide to visit a favorite blog like yours.

MyWOT sounds like a gimmick and I'd suggest anybody who values its opinions might reconsider as it's possible what they want to do is encourage more sites to have vendors which is what Google is always trying to do also with its messages that a person should consider monetizing. I don't have anything that I sell alongside mine for the same reason as above-- freedom. I like the blog to come in fast (and since I use a lot of photos often, I don't want anything else slowing that down), and I don't do blogging for money. Maybe MyWOT though does...

I never heard of MYWOT, but being a bit perverse and still believing in the First Ammendment, I do not allow any site, person, self-appointed opinion maker, talking head or other entity to shape my website veiwing. I do not have times to listen to all rants and raves, and if someone writes blatant lies, I do not return to read their blog, post, etc.

I try to honestly listen to all sides and do the best I can to make an informed decisions. So far, the only criticism I would have of ATGB is that at times the author seems a bit left in political matters, but then she is from NYC I think.

That's okay because she does not hide the fact, and I love a good debate, which is why I carefully listen to what the right has to say in all political matters, particularly in matters that affect me such as Medicare.

Dianne

I took a look at the WOT site and I notice that they are announcing that Facebook is using WOT ratings to "protect users from scams and malware" so that might have implications for your website. Didn't you have a problem a while back with Facebook and your blog? Maybe a scam of some sort? I wonder if that might have created the WOT rating.

Anyway, seems like a nasty business, especially when your recourse for counteracting a bad rating is so poor. This business of anybody getting to rate a teacher or a doctor or a website with no adequate protection for those being rated so arbitrarily is the nasty underside of social networking. A great bullying tool!!!

Never heard of MyWOT.

Frankly, if I had, I wouldn't be interested in it. I figure that I'm old enough and smart enough to figure out which blogs meet my needs and interest. I bet if one could dig deep enough, one would find a right wing goblin somewhere.

You aren't paranoid if they really are out to get you and with what's going on in this country we have to consider that possibility.

Wikipedia offers a caveat on the entry for it which would set off alarms for me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MyWOT.com

Ronni, I have dozens of blogs bookmarked and, yours is one of only two that gets checked every single day.

I don't always 100% agree with absolutely everything you write (just about 98% of it), but I do have a lot of respect for your opinion and am always glad to hear you voice it.

Don't usually bother to subscribe to blogs, but now I have to yours.

I will, of course, respect your wishes not to comment on the WOT site. But if I did, it would be to praise you for your transparency - few bloggers would come to their community and share a potentially negative review. Just one more way you build this online community of trust and respect for all of us to enjoy.

I strongly believe in individual decision making, and freedom of choice. WOT is an example of fear mongering: if we're that paranoid about using the Internet that we can't trust our own best judgment, we shouldn't be on it. Yours is one of the BEST blogs about growing old, and highly recommended by me and my company. Change WOT to WTF.

Mea culpa!!! I forgot that I shouldn't post links!!! I was just trying to help!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MyWOT.com

Wikipedia is interesting on the subject of MyWOT. First saying that some of the wiki sites information may not be reliable due to manipulation by MyWOT agents.

Also, note MyWOT is being sued by ten companies.

Does anyone else think that, in the last couple of decades, we have had a giant increase in the number of rotten people and their crooked scams? I find it distressing.

Ronni, you know that it is probably some right wing hate group behind the ratings.

Kay Dennison...
Nothing wrong with posting links if they are relevant to the discussion. Yours is.

Shut your eyes, hum, and stick your fingers in your ears.
No, wait, then you can't type. Rats.
Oh well, keep on writing. That's the main thing. Never look at numbers .. or just peek from time to time.
Yours is the only blog that stands the test of time. For me.
I definitely am more conservative than you and most of your readers, but think it's just plain smart to read the other point of view to be able to think and make up my own mind. Or change my mind if I see fit. You always relieve the hard core with delightful or fascinating material.

I read the preceding comments, and they're on the money! User/consumer ratings, while sometimes useful, can be easily abused to provide inaccurate and misleading information. Clearly, that's what happened here with MyWot.

I edit a newsletter for union retirees and I find the columns useful, especially the one on Politics, which I often forward to my staff at the union as well as to others.

I receive a lot of blogs (too many), and TGB is the only one I open without fail.

TGB provides a service and fulfills a need. Keep up the good work.

Well, I love this site and as an active senior, I find the information you provide to be invaluable. I never visit those kinds of websites but I will head over to the wiki site to read about it.

There you go; you are on a WOT bad guy list which is something like one of Nixon's bad guy lists. Political indeed. Scam too. Thumbs down from me.

Yes, I'd go vote for your site since not only do I feel it is a very useful and much needed A+ site, but I don't want their software near my computer.

I had not heard of MyWOT before you mentioned it, so I took a look at it, and it does seem to be a legitimate site with basically good intentions.

However, statistical data can of course be skewed by user input.

So it has to be that someone(s) with a grudge registered there and rated TGB poorly.

I use Norton 360 (antivirus, anti-everything-else), and here's how Norton Safe Web rates TGB:
http://tinyurl.com/3woesdk

Although the MyWOT rating annoys and disturbs you, Ronni, it sure doesn't represent the truth of TGB.

We who come here regularly know TGB is a terrific blog of the highest integrity.

As the old quotation says, "Don't let the turkeys get you down."

It is really dismaying that anyone can post something anonymously and have it published. That immediately discredits the authenticity of the post or the rating. For that reason alone I would never trust a web site that allows it.

Yours is the only blog that I never - and I mean never - fail to read. It was the first blog I read on the Internet and it will be the last one before I expire. It has been the most reliable and informative blog on anything and everything that impacts on aging.

I agree that some right wing malcontents probably gave you the thumbs down as they are so actively destructive.

Okay, I've stopped muttering and spluttering at my screen, so now I can write something hopefully coherent.

Whoever wrote this despicable rating on this equally despicable MyWOT was probably one of those spiteful wingnut seniors who thought they'd found some kindred loonies, and boy, were they wrong.

Ronni, reading your blog is one of the things that is keeping my poor, jobless old self sane in this world. I can't tell you how valuable it is for me to find the support I need here!

That is just terrible. And I agree, it's probably right wing malcontents. I have to say, I think of this as one of the absolutely most trust-worthy blogs I read.

One can visit Travelocity and read reviews of distant hotels before one makes reservations. That makes some sense, though the reviews can easily be rigged by the hotel owners or their rivals.

Or one can check a charity rater before sending donations.

But why would one check MyWOT or any other blog-rater instead of just reading TGB to form one's own judgments? It's not like one must jet to Oregon or send a check to experience TGB! The whole idea of MyWOT is absurd -- except as a scam.

MyWOT pretends to be providing a service but in itself is not trustworthy. I read your blog every day it's published. Thanks for the heads up about the site as we need to be careful about what we believe when we use the internet. I know many professors are complaining about rating sites of their teaching because the sites are anonymous and the rankings can be skewed by people with malicious intent. Internet polls, petitions and even searches have low reliability because people are trying to game the system.
Your blog is highly rated in my estimation and I don't need a rating service to make that determination.

We grew up with the adage of "Question Authority" and applied it liberally. When it comes to the new world and the internet, the new maxim might be, "Question Intention". I am always a bit skeptical of emerging technologies and trends on-line and I think it is wise to be so. Fortunately we are all older and we have the leverage of experience to decide what is valuable in our lives.

There are people with the best intentions bringing in new sites everyday. It would not surprise me if it turns out that MyWot was a start up that began with a precocious 13 year old's bright idea. The internet is still, thank goodness, somewhat self-correcting.

People should learn to use their own intelligence when judging the sources of information they follow. How silly to use rating plattforms as anything other than possible new sources of information. No one can tell me that your site is anything but informative, reliable, entertaining, and plain fun, since this is how I have experienced your site for many years now.

Never heard of MyWot either. I prefer to make my own judgements anyway, and I love your blog. Personally I blame the Republicans, maybe its another tool to diss those who don't agree with them. My paranoia knows no bounds. ;-)
Keep on Ronni.

I have only recently started to subscribe to your blog.

It is a brilliant example of what good blogging should be.

Never heard of MyWot.

Unfortunately it shows how easy it is for scam sites to manipulate online viewing figures .

Like most of the ohers, I haven't the foggiest notion of what "My Wot" is but my friend Charlie does and he goes there all the time because it tells him what blogs are "good" and which are not. Charlie has never thought for himself about anything. He relies on newspapers (especially the ads) magazines and TV for all of his opinions. It was for Charlie and people like him that I invented the word "sheepulation" and it seems that they are growing faster than the weeds in my garden. I can pull the weeds but I guess I'lll just have to put up with Charlie.

I had never heard of the site either, but after reading your post I couldn't resist going to it and looking up my own blog. My rating was 76 ("good") for trustworthiness and no ratings on the other three, which don't apply. But I feel bad about it, because it's like I'm being treated well while a friend is ill-used. What really puzzles me is we both have the lowest rating for "popularity," although you have tons of readers and I'm writing for a niche audience. I guess to get a higher popularity rating, a blog has to match Google or Wikipedia in hits.

I have been reading, and enjoying your blog for several years, now, and I think I can make up my own mind about it.

Deejay...
That popularity rating is the only thing at WOT that is probably correct, or close enough.

They're ranking all websites in relation to one another so whatever differences between your and my readership, we are both but tiny blips on the internet compared to Google, etc.

As to TGB being ill-used, don't feel bad for me. WOT is useless and although they claim more than 20 million users, it doesn't matter to me what my rating is now that understand what they are and how they operate.

I'll certainly continue to visit TGB, MyWOT OR NOT, LOL.

Ah, like I said before, ten million fans can't be wrong.

Walk on, TGB.

What you describe is crazy. Your blog is exceptional, and don't let these stupid idiots at MyWot discourage you.

They can't make me leave....I am here to stay!

What nitwits - and probably a few malicious jerks as well! Anybody who reads your blog knows what a great site it is. People shouldn't be sheep and follow some Judas goat into the sheering pin. I never thought to subscribe to your blog because it's where I go first thing in the morning but I am going to go and do that right now.

Take that, you unsubscribers you...snaps fingers with complete contempt!

Sorry that I am so late,Ronni.

I can not say how I feel about you or your site any better than my friend,Darlene,said it.

You are the best......

Later than usual but I have to add that I don't miss a single post. You are the best!Love your writing and the comments and I have found other interesting blogs thru the Elderblog listing.

others have said this but i will repeat: can we not use our own intelligence and ability to discriminate a great read from a poor read or whatever it is that makes us read a blog? Do we always have to have tests to confirm or argue our thoughts and opinions. Gosh there are so many tests for everything nowadays we hardly need to think for ourselves anymore. This Wot thing is ridiculous. Glad you are keeping on keeping on.

WOT will be long gone while you are still thriving Ronni. The ones who have left? Well, they didn't do their homework anyway.
I find you consistently excellent reading and also come here for the odd laugh and story.
WOT can ROT.
XO
WWW

Yes, WOT can ROT.
Hi Ronnie,

I so fondly remember the evening Marian and I spent with you awhile back. There no adequate words to describe this atrocious behaviour by WOT. Web of Trust? Lol

The day I joined Facebook, MyWot rated my site as poor and warned everyone to stay away. The next day I appealed to MyWot and later that day received 5 bad reviews on MyWot about my blog saying my blog was stealing credit card numbers among other bad things. I do not even sell anything. I noticed one of the user names that made bad comments on MyWot has made over 300,000 comments on MyWot in the last year (according to their records.) This is not humanly possible. They will sell me a membership where I can clean up my reputation. SO BEWARE: MyWot is about extortion.

Thank you for the warning. I'm someone who really uses ratings for services from places like Consumer Reports or Angie's List or our local Checkbook.org. Never heard of MyWot but will steer clear. Sorry for TGB experience. Even though I've been absent for several months, I always enjoy your postings.

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