A study in red

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phantazm
Posts: 4906
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:46 pm

A study in red

Post by phantazm » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:22 pm

Both WOT and Siteadvisor rates sites with basically 3 categories: green, yellow and red - meaning safe, caution and beware. However, we are no longer in the static days of web 1, so the 'red' category ought to be differentiated better. There are at least 4 kinds: permanent, transient, local and unsure...

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1: Born to be viral. Malevolent from day one. Consistent scams like Canadian Pharmacy. Most times a scam operation consists of many cloned sites, each only existing briefly before suspension.

2: Local scams: There are many online fora and communities out there, but there are many times more users. Unfortunately there will always be a few abusing the system.

3: Transient scams. Ane legal company can be temporaryly hacked, or otherwise compromised. Maybe a private blog, but not even gov or edu domains are 100% safe today.

4: Owner / content shift: Same domain name, but a quite different content. Maybe still good, maybe not. Maybe still bad, maybe not...

Only the first kind deserves a red rating without reservations. But it needs the rating fast, as such scams typically last less than a week.

The second and third is the mixed up bag; typically one rotten apple hiding among all the other healthy fruits. A single rating would not be the whole truth. Instead it should be marked where and when the scam is hiding. As reviews in Siteadvisor cannot be edited, I recommend writing the webmaster instead of leaving a permanent review of a transient scam. In WOT reviews can be edited, so the problems exist not here (McAfee, wake up!).

Sites entering category 4 should revert to grey, meaning untested so far. In this case a 'revert alert' would be nice; inviting earlier reviewers to return and update their reviews and ratings. (Old posts could then be filed as 'site history'.)

Ironically, when alltime bad sites from category 1 finally get suspended, they should in theory shift to category 4 and turn grey. But typically they are converted into 'Utterly Contentless Sites' offering only ads, ads, ads. This may be legal, but the aim is still to deceive. WOT has a category for 'useless', Siteadvisor only offers 'yellow', but not for reviewers. Such sites don't steal your money but they do steal your time: I suggest a pale red for these...


logicman
Posts: 378
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:58 am

Rating categories.

Post by logicman » Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:24 pm

I like these ideas, phantazm.

Yes, your recommendations get my vote.

An additional recommendation, just make useless sites grey, like untested ones, and then post a prominent notice for two types of site -
UNTESTED -
this site has not yet been tested or reviewed.

USELESS
this site uses trickery to attract visitors, but offers no useful content.

:-)

phantazm
Posts: 4906
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:46 pm

I think one of my

Post by phantazm » Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:11 pm

I think one of my suggestions were that 'grey' and 'useless' looks identical, but doesn't have to be. Maybe WOT could clarify how 'useless' sites are defined..?

logicman
Posts: 378
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:58 am

Clarification.

Post by logicman » Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:27 pm

Sorry, phantazm.

I meant to refer to the pop-up panel seen in search results with a grey icon.
My thinking is that there is no need to show the four ratings there, just one grey one, with a prominent text label, for instant recognition as a different type of site.

I really do like the way that, with all these forum posts, user feedback, and free exchange of ideas, WOT is moving forward.

:-)

phantazm
Posts: 4906
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:46 pm

A question of speed...

Post by phantazm » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:53 am

No need to be sorry, logicman. I think my ideas were more theoretical, and what you suggested more practical. But of course, every idea need to be implemented, eventually. In the meantime, discussion moves on...

To add something more practical: Category 2 and 3 have something in common. Both local and transient scams appear suddenly and unexpected, live for a short while, and then gone again. But remember, such red exceptions happens in sites otherwise consistently green.

A permanent rating, green or red, does not reflect such infections.
But how do we rate, and rerate, sites fast enough..?

A more practical example. The original intention of Siteadvisor was to identify red sites, and thereafter warn people in advance - and such sites still exists. Compare that with XPLs linkscanner, that doesn't care about past or future, but warns you if a danger is lurking now. I think this difference in speed of response also reflects different versions of the net, the past and future.

And as we all know, the future arrived yesterday...



logicman
Posts: 378
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:58 am

Now, that's what I call fast!

Post by logicman » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:00 am

"as we all know, the future arrived yesterday..."

phantazm: for making me laugh so much:
may all of your tomorrows be filled with wonderful yesterdays. :-)


andre9
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:53 am

speed

Post by andre9 » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:16 am

"A permanent rating, green or red, does not reflect such infections.
But how do we rate, and rerate, sites fast enough..?"

Large community of people that can donate enough time?

Anyway, this thread is seriously cool, I do not have great review skills and am learning lots, thanks



phantazm
Posts: 4906
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:46 pm

Request a comment...

Post by phantazm » Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:09 am

I think the feature "Request a comment" could solve part of the problem.

But requests should be used wisely: If a dangerous site already had a solid red rating, with lots of comments, then one more wont make a big difference.

But if there's no rating, no comments. Or if there's only an automated spamlist with low reliability. Then a request could make a difference...

Furthermore, andre9 has a point: Speed is also important, as these scam sites usually last less than a week...

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