What Kind of Reputation Does the Website Have?

A website's reputation is based on the experience of real users, as well as the opinion of people who are experts in the topic of the website.

Stores frequently have user ratings, which can help you understand a store's reputation based on the reports of people who actually shop there. Many other kinds of websites have reputations as well. You might find that a newspaper website has won journalistic awards. You might find that a medical information site is endorsed by physician groups.

The reputation of a website is especially important for YMYL pages.

The reputation of a website is also very important when the information on the website demands a high level of authoritativeness or expertise, such as medical information websites. When a high level of authoritativeness or expertise is needed, the reputation of a website should be judged by what expert opinions have to say. For example, high quality medical websites are endorsed by prominent physician groups.

Reputation research in PQ rating is very important. A positive reputation from a consensus of experts is often what distinguishes an overall Highest quality page from a High quality page. A negative reputation should not be ignored and is a reason to give an overall PQ rating of Low or Lowest.

The website check question you will answer in the rating task is: What kind of reputation does the website have?

• negative or malicious reputation

• mixed reputation

• positive or OK reputation

• little or no information found

Reviews and ratings of websites can be very helpful for determining reputation. Any store or website can get a few negative reviews, and that is normal. Large stores and companies have thousands of reviews and most receive a few negative ones. However, it is not normal for businesses or websites to have all or predominantly negative reviews.

Use the "negative or malicious reputation" rating if there are many believable, detailed negative reviews (and very few positive reviews), or if there are informative/believable complaints from multiple sources detailing malicious behavior.

Note: Frequently, you will find little or no information about the reputation of a small website. This is not indicative of positive or negative reputation.

Sometimes, you will find information about a website which is not related to its reputation. For example, pages with information about Internet traffic to the website are not about the reputation of the website. Please select "little or no information found" if the information you find is unrelated to the reputation of the website.

How to Search for Reputation Information: The usual way to find out about reputation is by searching for comments, reviews, and articles and references about the website. Usually, one quick search is all you need. Here is how to research the reputation of the website:

Identify the "homepage" of the website.

Try one or more of the following searches on Google:

Format of Reputation Search Queries

Reputation Search Queries (using IBM as an example)





[homepage reviews]

[ibm reviews]

[homepage -site:homepage.com]

[ibm -site:ibm.com]

["homepage.com" -site:homepage.com]

["ibm.com" -site:ibm.com]

["homepage.com" -site:homepage.com reviews"

["ibm.com" -site:ibm.com reviews]



Browse through the results to see what others have to say about the website.

For businesses, there are many sources of reputation information and reviews. Here are some examples: Yelp

Better Business Bureau

Google Product Search

Look for other websites that reference the website you are researching. On Google search, you can use the "link:" operator.

See if there is a Wikipedia article or news article from a well known news site. Wikipedia can be a good source of information about companies and organizations.


Wikipedia Page About the Website



Wikipedia article about


Wall Street Journal article about


Users in the US can obtain free credit reports on this website by providing their Social Security Number. Notice that this Wikipedia article tells us that "AnnualCreditReport.com is the only federally mandated and authorized source for obtaining a free credit report."


Wikipedia article about etsy.com

CNN article about etsy.com

Etsy.com is a popular shopping website for handmade and vintage and other unique items. Users provide credit account information when making purchases on the website.


Wikipedia article about

US News & World Report article about
the best hospitals in the US

According to Wikipedia, the Cleveland Clinic "is currently regarded as one of the top 4 hospitals in the United States as rated by U.S. News & World Report." Users can trust medical information on this website.

Here is an example that uses some of the website research techniques listed above.

URL of the landing page: http://www.decormyeyes.com/pd.asp?prod_id=1940
Decor My Eyes).

Identify the homepage of the website, which is "decormyeyes.com."

Issue the query [decormyeyes reviews] to see what others have to say about the website. Here is what this search looks like: Search results for [decormyeyes reviews]
. You will notice many extremely negative reviews and complaints about this malicious site. The New York Times has an article extensively detailing the malicious behavior of this website.

Also try this query: [decormyeyes -site:decormyeyes.com]

Try the search [décor my eyes site:bbb.org]. You will see that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives this business a very low rating: BBB page about Decor My Eyes

Look for articles on Wikipedia and well known news sites about DecorMyEyes. These articles on Wikipedia

and the New York Times describe the deceptive techniques used by DecorMyEyes and provide other negative information about the website and its owner.

Please note the following

• The Better Business Bureau does not have ratings for all businesses. You will sometimes find high ratings on BBB because there is very little data on the business, not because the business has a positive reputation. However, low ratings on BBB are usually the result of multiple unresolved complaints. Please consider very low ratings on the BBB site to be evidence for a negative reputation.

• Including "site:homepage.com" in your query restricts the search results to include only pages from the site "http://www.homepage.com." Another helpful trick is to try adding "-site:homepage.com" to the query, which restricts your search results to pages about homepage.com, but not on the website homepage.com.

Sometimes it is helpful just to search using the name of the homepage (i.e., "homepage"), and sometimes it is helpful to search for the URL (i.e., "homepage.com"). If you are having trouble finding any information, try both.

Here are some other examples:


Reputation Research




Search results for
[atgstores.com complaints]

Search results for
[atgstores.com reviews]


You will notice many detailed extremely negative reviews about this site. Please see these pages: ATQ Stores negative review 1
ATQ negative review 2
ATQ negative review 3


Reputation Research




Search results for [help hospitalized veterans scam]


You will notice many detailed negative articles about this organization on news sites and charity watchdog sites: HHV

negative review 1

HHV negative review 2

HHV negative review 3
, and
HHV negative review 4



Search results for


reviews -


Positive to Mixed

You will find two negative reviews. This one has lots of detail and is believable: Denison negative review
The review at the top of this page is questionable:
Denison questionable review

It offers no details and feels spammy. Notice that there is a credible response by the owner further down the page. Although we could not find pages with positive reviews about this business, we can infer a positive reputation by looking at the following: Denison positive article

Denison positive article

positive article

In this case, we should consider the very credible sounding negative review, but it should not outweigh the overall generally positive reputation of the business. We would consider denisonyachtsales.com to have an OK or positive reputation.

csmonitor.com (Christian Science Monitor)

Search results for

[csmonitor.com -



Notice the highlighted section in this Wikipedia article about the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, which tells us that the newspaper has won seven Pulitzer prizes. From this information, we can infer that the csmonitor.com website has a positive reputation.


Search results for


Search results for

[llbean.com reviews -



From the numerous positive user reviews on these sites, we can infer that llbean.com has a positive reputation: LL Bean positive

reviews 1

LL Bean positive reviews 2
LL Bean positive

reviews 3


Search results for


Search results for

[kernel.org -



From this Wikipedia article
, we learn that "Kernel.org is a

main repository of source code for the Linux kernel, the base of the popular Linux operating system. It makes all versions of the source

code available to all users. It also hosts various other projects,

like Google Android. The main purpose of the site is to host a repository for Linux kernel developers and maintainers of Linux distributions."

Kernel.org is a highly reputable resource. It happens to have an atypical layout, but is considered to be very high quality.

Final notes:

• Reputation is different than popularity. Popular websites are used by many people and are frequently (but not always) high quality. Reputation is based on both experiences of users as well as the opinion of experts in the topic of the website. Some medical websites with positive reputations are those recommended by prominent medical groups. Stores with good reputations are ones that serve their customers well (not just the ones that sell the most products). Reputation research is necessary. Do not just assume websites you personally use have a good reputation. Please do research! You might be surprised at what you find.

• You are not evaluating whether the website works or doesn't work. If a website clearly has a bad reputation, the site is considered lowest quality regardless of whether the website works or not. Many "bad" websites readily take a user's money or personal information. The important question is what the site does with the money or information.
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