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How-To Geek

WOT Rankings, the How-To Geek Newsletter, and You

Over the last few days, we’ve had a bunch of readers email us complaining that WOT (Web of Trust) is rating the How-To Geek Newsletter with a warning message. But it’s a lie! And we’ve resolved it…

What Are You Talking About?

The Web of Trust (WOT) add-on for Firefox and IE checks links on the current page and warns you when you are about to head towards something suspicious—and unfortunately it was incorrectly tagging the links in the How-To Geek Newsletter.

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But It Wasn’t Us!

If you actually check the How-To Geek scorecard page over on Web of Trust, you’ll see that we’ve got wonderful green ratings, and even a congratulations… so where’s the confusion?

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The Problem

The issue here is that we use a company named Aweber to handle sending out the daily emails—since there are 18,000+ subscribers getting our articles in their inbox every day, our server couldn’t handle that load. So we outsource it.

And that’s where the problem lies…  clicks.aweber.com is being rated as untrustworthy on WOT, and we had click tracking enabled on the daily emails—which tells us what links in the newsletter are actually being clicked on, and gives us a nice gauge on what type of content you guys like to read about.

So, I’ve removed the click tracking from the emails, and as of tomorrow’s daily email, this shouldn’t be an issue anymore.

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Note: I’ve contacted Aweber about this problem, and they have promised me that they will resolve the situation from their end as well.

A Word on the Web of Trust

I’m a big fan of WOT as a general guide to the trustworthiness of a site—it’s helpful to get recommendations from other users on whether you should visit a site or not. Unfortunately, it just takes a few bad apples (or dumb ones) to screw it up. Rating sites incorrectly as spam ruins the experience for other people, and some people are just malicious.

Case in point: Aweber uses a double-opt-in system, so you not only have to deliberately sign up for an email newsletter, but you also have to confirm your subscription again in order to start receiving emails. Once you’ve confirmed Twice, well, you shouldn’t be then rating it as spam—because you asked for that content.

Not to mention the fact that there’s a mandatory unsubscribe link at the bottom of every Aweber-served newsletter. Stop hitting the spam button when you can unsubscribe instead!

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/3/09

Comments (2)

  1. Camilo Martin

    Well, as a daily reader, I really don’t like not seeing the actual URL I click on before clicking it.

    I understand it’s for the sake of better content that you track the links, but it would be nice to know where every link leads to, so, I wouldn’t mind the tracking if there was something like a tooltip to inform us of the link’s actual URL.

    When I click a link I regularly watch the statusbar to see where it leads to, and I hate not knowing :(

  2. Sandra Siciliano

    PLEASE UNSUBSCRIBE ME … too much for my cell phone … I CANNOT FIND THE LINK TO DO THIS!!

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