The Web of Trust team is reporting that a Google policy change is affecting the display of the service's trust ratings on Google. As it stands now, trust ratings are only displayed for organic search results, and no longer for advertisements displayed on the same page.
Web of Trust previously displayed trust ratings for both ads and organic results on Google. As of today, that has changed and users will notice that this is no longer the case.
Web of Trust is a security extension for various web browsers that improves a user's security and privacy on the Internet by displaying trust ratings on popular search engines and for individual sites the user visits.
The blog post does not go into details as to what this new policy is all about, only that it affects the service's functionality - and that of other tools as well - to show reputations for sponsored links on Google search results. The reference of other affected programs may indicate a change in how ads are served in the search results.
The lack of a source, other than the Web of Trust tool which is no longer displaying ratings for ads, leaves many questions unanswered. We do not know if there was a policy change, what caused it, and if there is a way around the restriction to have the tools displays ratings for ads again.
With advertisements having been used to distribute malware in the past, it is a change that should be of concern to many Internet users, but in particular users who are using Web of Trust or a comparable program or extension that rates search result links.
We keep an eye on the story as it unfolds, and will update the news article once we get additional information.
Update: It appears that WOT is honoring Google's policy (change) that third parties cannot change sponsored links in any way anymore.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.