Web of Trust May No Longer Display Google Ad Trust Ratings

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 16, 2012
Updated • Apr 20, 2012

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.

web of trust ratings google

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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  1. AUser said on June 11, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    WOT is a fucking scam, by itself.

  2. kalmly said on April 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Hits on said advertising sites will be going down by a count of 1. I won’t be clicking on any of the links without a (green) WOT rating.

    Been using DuckDuckGo and Ixquick anyway.

  3. GiddyUpGo said on April 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Stay away from Google! Use DuckDuckGo or Startpage instead.

    1. Wayfarer said on April 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      What he just said with knobs on. Increasingly, the Google industry is bad news – I trust them even less than I trust Microsoft – and that’s saying something. Stay away from Google products. Remember than when anything online is free, that may simply mean that you are the saleable product.

  4. DanTe said on April 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Could be that Google knows that the majority of its ads are bad sites.

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