I like MakeUseOf. My question is, how do we the general public know for certain MakeUseOf is not a team of social engineering attackers, who make out to be a safe web organization?
Stats till now...
Facebook likes : Around 140000 and counting
Twitter followers : Around 25000 and counting...
Don't you get the sense what website is publishing and its quality of content,
Free downloads, Giveaways, newsletters.....etc
I think makeuseof should develop a guide on psychology that YOU NEED to understand people/thing in front of you and have (some) belief/trust on it..
As for the rest.. If you still don't understand..
Unlike MUO and never visit it again..
I would have to agree with the list Aibek produced. These days, I don't blame anyone for not trusting websites - it's to easy to create one and then pretend you're an expert. If you judge websites using Aibek's criteria, it's easy to see how the site is reputable and legit. It doesn't take very long, exploring the about page, to see that the writers and editors here have a list of credentials (all documented and available) that would make any IT team in the world extremely proud.
In fact, I just landed a new real-world job in IT in part because of some of the articles I've written here at MUO. How's that for evidence that MUO is legit? If a multinational real-world corporation trusts MUO enough to base hiring decisions on articles published there - shouldn't you trust it too?
Interesting question. In order to answers this I asked myself the same thing about some of my favorite websites and there are several things come to my mind.
* how long the website been around (MUO been online about five and half years)
* how popular it is (I think we can safely say that MUO is very popular these days)
* what says on its about page (//www.makeuseof.com/about/)
* who are the sponsors (MUO powered by standard ad networks, nothing unusual here)
* fan base and social presence (we have about 200,000 followers on social media)
* check out content (I think we are pretty strong on content side :) )
We're not, it's a promise (:
As James said, there really is no way to tell...The best way to know for sure is your instincts & diligent research. Unfortunately, no matter how good the website is you can't always trust the users of that website. What I post may answer your question, what the person that posts below me may ruin your system. That's just how it works.
As for MakeUseOf (or really any website), searching like-minded websites and message boards is probably the best way to go. Plugin's such as WOT (Web Of Trusts) is a crowd-based FireFox extension that takes user reviews on a per-count basis. If x users said this website was malicious, WOT will warn you. That method is highly fallible though, as competitors may spam negative votes or users simply may not visit or report malicious activity.
As I mentioned previously, on a community-based website it's usually the users that cause the issues. MUO does a good job of filtering out comments. Things you should always watch for reguardless are links like these, many users will simply click on it. Most modern browsers have a feature that once you hover over the link, in the bottom (left?) section it will indicate where the link goes to. If it doesn't, just don't click it.
Lastly, don't run scripts or application's which you don't understand, look them first. Is the author of the comment linking to the developers homepage, or a file uploading service? Why wouldn't he just post a link to the homepage? These are the questions you should ask yourself.
Besides, MakeUseOf is what it is because of it's users. Attacking them wouldn't be in their best interest.
You don't, not really - how can you trust anyone in life, truly? I assume you do actually trust people in "real life" though too right? So how/why do you do that? You give them a chance, and if they fail you, you don't trust them again. It's pretty simple really.
I have to agree with James here. Nose around the website and see if you agree with the things we say about services you know well. If you do, then maybe decide to trust us on new things up until we break that trust. It's all you can do, really. :)
From a behind-the-scenes perspective I can assure you that there's no collaborative agenda other than the point of the website: We find cool things you can make use of and tell you about it.
Each of us does our own research for each article and we ensure we understand everything we promote.
Our writers and editors also have personal integrity. If there's anything potentially dodgy about a product, we don't like to write about it. If an editor notices something dodgy that a writer overlooks the recommendation is removed from the article. If a writer deliberately does anything dodgy the writer is fired and the article doesn't run.
Basically, we try to do our best and we hope that meets with reader approval. :)