Here is an example of what I mean. kharisma.biz is a hacked site with at least one phishing scam running, but regardless of any caution that a volunteer site reviewer tries to post, a SiteAdvisor user will only see the McAfee's green checkmark. The question naturally arises why McAfee would decide that it is in the best interest of its users to supress the cautions generated by its volunteers on the site review's landing page.
NotBuyingIt beat me to it, as I have also been going to bring out this issue after noticing it a few days ago. One more great "improvement" McAfee have made to SiteAdvisor's web interface.
A little bit of history first: Last year many of the most active site reviewers, including me, complained about the significant slowdown in the bulk reviewing process, which as a side effect also slowed down practically everything else using the database at the same time. After many months of complaining, McAfee finally managed to fix the most horrible slowdowns, but in the process also hid all the corresponding site reviews from the main view of each site and put them behind that blue button (see the image above) to see. Most of us were disappointed in that decision.
Now, after a few days of apparent struggling — as it appears the database access is crawling again — they seem to have made the decision of also removing this "summary" of the different types of reviews NotBuyingIt brings out above. That part isn't even hidden anywhere, it's removed completely. So, now on the main view of each site there's nowhere you can see how many user reviews (if any) there are for that site, or what type they possibly are. The whole existence of user reviews is now hidden really well. Congratulations.
I'm quite confident that this kind of pottering around won't make SA any faster, if that's what they have been trying to accomplish. On the other hand, if the intention is to get rid of reviews (and reviewers) altogether and wipe them under the carpet in a stealthy way, I wouldn't really appreciate doing it like this. It would be much nicer of McAfee if they told it straight and simply removed the whole option. I mean, what's the point of it anymore?
In the case it's gone unnoticed, many of those who used to be the most active reviewers and contributors have already practically abandoned SiteAdvisor many moons ago. It's due to many things, the least of which was not the inconceivable and unjust banning of pharmalert last spring. On the whole, the overall incompetence of McAfee has made many of us leave. Maybe that really is what they are aiming at.
Me? I have been hanging around mostly because posting those bulk reviews has actually become a routine to me, and you can't teach an old dog new tricks that easily . And since I report many of those rogue domains to domain name registrars for suspension anyway (yes, that does work in many cases), it hasn't taken much more effort to post them to SA on the same go, too. I have greatly reduced the number of my daily reviews though, compared to my most active times.
But to be frank, even being the tough piece of sole leather that I am, I'm finally getting fed up with all this. I, just like many others, have been posting reviews mainly in order to warn people of rogue sites and to give a little more information of the nature of sites or possible problems in addition to McAfee's (or TrustedSource's) superficial description, not to even mention all those ones that are still grey (not rated) at that point. Quite often those reviews have also been a countermeasure to reduce the effect of completely false ratings provided by McAfee (as I stated in this old thread — things really haven't got much better since then). It would be nice if the user reviews had even a tiny effect on the main rating, but I have got used to that not being the case. But now, if everything even slightly referring to the existence of user reviews will be removed or hidden like this, I really don't see even that point anymore. I know I can use my little extra time better than that.
So, boys and girls at McAfee, keep playing with your toy. But if you want to make something really useful and trustworthy out of it, that will take much more work to accomplish.
Good afternoon everyone!
As I am also a volunteer SiteAdvisor reviewer, I most definitely concur with what Notbuyingit and Nodus have stated.
In addition to what has already been cited, it should also be noted that we...as volunteer SiteAdvisor reviewers...take significant risks each and every single time we visit and check-out questionable websites! There is always a very high probability WE REVIEWERS can pick up some type of malicious malware from our site visits and review process. Even though each of us may have the best possible security software in place, if our computer's do become infected, then we alone are going to have to expend our own time and resources to resolve an infection.
McAfee (obviously) has plenty of time, money, and computer/human resources to combat any security issues with their own system(s), but I seriously doubt there is a single volunteer SiteAdvisor reviewer who has major resources like that upon which to draw!
In conclusion, I strongly urge McAfee to re-evaluate the issues presented by all volunteer SiteAdvisor reviewers and initiate remedial measures. The SiteAdvisor reviewers, like our own distinguished forum Moderators, volunteer our time and efforts to try and make the Internet a safer place for all.
Is McAfee so readily willing to ignore and abandon such a valuable resource? How many more volunteer SiteAdvisor reviewers will end up withdrawing from participation before McAfee staff wake up to the reality of this undesireable situation?
Thank you for your time and review!
I can see no reason why this has been done. It makes the SiteAdvisor pages less informative and far less useful, since a quick overview of pro- vs. anti-site postings - and an indication of any categories that gave rise to concern - was a useful snapshot of the website's reputation.
Of course, to see whether any of those reviews was actually worth taking into account you had to go and look at the posts on the review page. But at least the overview told you if there were any reviews to read (often there are none).
I'm going to ask about this on Monday in the conference call. If SiteAdvisor want to do away with the user review system, and just rely on TrustedSource, then fine. I don't think that's likely, but you never know. The uncertainty over what's happening, though, means I'm not going to bother adding any site reviews for the time being, not until I know what's going on.
I'll let you all know whatever I find out on Monday.
Thanks very much for your input and feedback, Hayton!
I believe other SiteAdvisor reviewers would agree, the more input that can be brought to bear upon McAfee on these issues, the more likely it is all voices will be heard...and some degree of resolution obtained. On a related note regarding relying solely upon Trusted Source...I have seen a number of comments in other forums I belong to, which are stating that Trusted Source often provides erroneous information about a website's rep. I have visited some websites where McAfee has it rated green, yet other site rating systems, such as, WOT have red warnings about the site.
Conversely, I've also seen comments regarding WOT's rating system reliability as well. This disparity is concerning.
Many thanks again , Hayton!
I believe other SiteAdvisor reviewers would agree, the more input that can be brought to bear upon McAfee on these issues, the more likely it is all voices will be heard...and some degree of resolution obtained.
Well, like I told I personally am actually quite fed up with all this. Many active volunteers have been trying to make their voices heard to McAfee for years already, but the results have been quite modest. Even when we finally have been heard, the steps McAfee have taken may have resulted in some other unfortunate glitches that nobody had asked for, as I wrote above. I can understand the frustration of those many volunteers who have already decided it's not worth it and have gone looking for other ways to help in making the Internet a safer place. They are a huge resource, if they only can find the right channels to use all their knowledge. And I know they always will. Unfortunately it's currently not SiteAdvisor, as McAfee seem to keep obstructing those channels the best they can.
Once upon a time there were a couple of nice guys running SiteAdvisor, and you could actually get your voice heard. After they left, I doubt there is anyone left who would really even know how the whole system works, let alone be capable to improve it.
On a related note regarding relying solely upon Trusted Source...I have seen a number of comments in other forums I belong to, which are stating that Trusted Source often provides erroneous information about a website's rep. I have visited some websites where McAfee has it rated green, yet other site rating systems, such as, WOT have red warnings about the site.
As I mentioned in my post above, I once made a cursory test on a bunch of domains I had just reviewed, and my results were not exactly encouraging (44% of those obviously criminal sites were rated green by TrustedSource). And I have seen too many similar occations after that to know it hasn't gone to any better direction.
This is one of the main reasons I have still been posting reviews: to countermove those ratings that may turn out to be dangerous if people put their trust on them. But now, after this last brainwave from McAfee, that has practically no effect anymore. Very few people will take it into their heads to start looking for contradictory opinions if there's no sign such things even exist.
I still think the way to achieve much better results would be to give even some weight to volunteer ratings. It wouldn't have to be much, if it were at least enough to trigger a closer study when TrustedSource's and volunteers' ratings are clearly contradictory to each other. Many sites are simply too complicated to be solely examined by a machine, not the least as the methods of the bad guys also evolve all the time.
Now, retiring to the background to wait and see what Hayton will learn in the conference call.
The question was asked in the call, and I'm waiting to hear what the reasoning was behind the removal of the review section and, more importantly, whether the section can be re-instated. I would guess that the idea was to devote the front page entirely to the automated results, and someone had the bright idea of tidying up the content. Whatever the reason for the removal, I've made a case for bringing it back. Now we wait and see what happens.
This is so sad. Site Advisor started out as such a great idea.
But as the performance dropped off, poor decisions were made to address the issue. The decison to reduce the visibility of reviews detracted from the value of the service. When performance started to drop off again, another poor decision to even further reduce the visibility of the reviews and pull out the review summary has made the original great idea nothing more than a faded memory. The reduction in visibility also means that all reviews are now hidden from Google, which contantly crawls Reviewer Central. Was that a consideration in the decision, or just unfortunate collateral damage?
It's easy to criticise, but how could it have been handled better? Quite simply, the back-room engine that drives the system has obviously not been selected carefully. It is just not scalable to meet the increase in volumes. Rather than reduce the visibility of reviews, the better solution would have been to select an engine that is scalable to meet the growth in volumes. In fact, that still is the better solution.
Of course, this means an expenditure to cover the redevelopment or tuning costs. And perhaps McAfee has not budgeted for it. If so, then budgetary priorities need to be assessed and realigned according to the corporate stategy.
Comparisons, they say, are odious. Nevertheless, we need only look at SiteAdvisor's largest competitor, Web of Trust to see if another rating service can handle similar volumes. Let's compare statistics.
SIte Advisor, reviewer central states:
SiteAdvisor Reviewer Central
Total reviews to date: 5,957,119
Total reviews in the last week: 8,510
Total reviews in the past 24 hours: 1,705
(Note that the Total reviews to date is inflated by over 1,000,000 of my own reviews that were deleted, not restored, but also not removed from the statistics). Overlooking that, we can be generous and say that there are 6 million reviews held, and new reviews are arriving at a rate of between 50 per hour (averaged over a week) and 70 per hour (averaged over a day).
MyWOT statistics ( http://www.mywot.com/en/community/statistics )
Ratings by members this week 273,378
Total comments by members 13,527,346
Total rated sites 33,118,909
From this it can be seen that Web of Trust has far outstripped Site Advisor in terms of volumes of reviews, and is able to sustain a much higher reviewer rate without any noticable effect on performance.
Add to that the fact that Web of Trust has facilities that enable all reviewers to edit their previous reviews and ratings at any time (allowing for a bad review of a phishing site to be replaced with a new review when it has been cleaned), mass rating and reviews (like Site Advisor) but also mass updates or mass deletions of previous ratings and reviews to allow for major changes or to back out a large mistake across hundreds or even thousands of mass rated sites - and you have a web site rating system that does properly what Site Advisor once promised but never fulfilled.