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Web site watch dog

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Sunday March 5, 2006 )

I came across an interesting service today that monitors web sites and reports on their trustworthiness. The site report can be gained through searching the company’s datatabase, or you can download a browser plugin so when you search via Google, Yahoo or MSN; “safety ratings” appear next to listings.

Using the browser plugin as you’re surfing the web, a toolbar button changes color based on the safety level of the site you are viewing.

The free service/software is called SiteAdvisor. SiteAdvisor commenced services nearly a year ago and is the result of a group of MIT engineers who wanted to make surfing safer for the general public.

A series of bots surf the the Web to browsing sites, downloading files, and signing up for subscriptions. The results are then documented and the site is given a safety rating. For example, SiteAdvisor detects whether spyware is present in any downloads it tests and posts the results on SiteAdvisor site profile.

The SiteAdvisor service takes it one step further by inviting comments from users and the site owner on each site profile.

I tried the service out on a few dependable sites I know, plus a couple of shadier ones and it appears to work quite well. This could be a useful tool, especially for those people who are relatively new to the web, subscribaholics and rampant downloaders :). If you decide to give it a whirl, bear in mind that SiteAdvisor is still in Beta.

Visit SiteAdvisor


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