Web of Trust (WOT), the safe surfing tool/browser add-on which is powered by the crowd, has raised a fresh €1M (approx. ~$1.3M) led by Finland/China-based VC firm, Inventure. Also participating in the round is private investor, Risto Siilasmaa, and Finnish Industry Investment, a previous backer of the Helsinki-based company.
The new capital will be used for “additional product development” as WOT aims to continue on a growth path that has seen it double the number of downloads for its browser add-on over the last year, to total 50 million.
WOT offers a free browser add-on to help users ensure that they are only visiting trustworthy/reliable websites. It does this by harnessing the power of the crowd — other users who have installed the add-on and actively rate the sites they visit — and conveys this information via a traffic-light rating system next to website links in search results, for example, or in the browser address bar itself.
To date, its community has rated the reputation of “nearly 39 million websites” based on their experiences in terms of trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety — helping to highlight and stop users visiting dodgy sites that might not get caught by a traditional virus checker, claims the company, such as sites with questionable content, “dubious” online stores, or privacy violations.
Furthermore, WOT users rate approximately 300,000 websites every week and the add-on gives an average of 2.5 million warnings of untrustworthy sites every day, apparently. In addition to those crowdsourced ratings, the results are boosted with information from selected technical data services.
Interestingly, alongside its consumer-facing browser add-on, WOT licenses the website reputation data that it collects to other companies, including Facebook. It also offers corporates a site-wide license for its safe surfing tool. Presumably, it’s these two B2B products in which WOT actually makes money.