Due to economic considerations, Consumers Union has decided to shut down Consumer Reports WebWatch as of July 31, 2009. Although the site will be maintained as a consumer resource, we will no longer be able to accept your calls or e-mails.
Thanks for your interest in our work.
The WebWatch Team
Consumer Reports WebWatch is the Internet integrity division of Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports Magazine, ConsumerReports.org, the Consumer Reports on Health and Money Adviser newsletters, BestBuyDrugs.org, and a variety of sites advocating consumer rights in the marketplace.
We assist Consumer Reports' editorial division in evaluating the credibility of Web sites, we investigate and research Web sites on behalf of consumers, and we advocate for consumer-focused Internet policy and governance. Consumer Reports WebWatch accepts no advertising or outside funding, other than from non-profit foundations.
Through research, the promotion of guidelines for best practices and other means, we seek to improve the credibility of content on the World Wide Web. Through research and analysis, we have developed guidelines for specific sectors of the Web. These sectors have included travel Web sites, search engines, auto insurance sites, and health sites.
We believe many consumer trust concerns about Web sites can be improved through consistent disclosure. One means to achieve this is with a detailed "About Us" section, like this one, that describes the site's mission, purpose, who owns it and how it is funded, where its physical location is (in other words, where the staff offices and the site's content staff are based), how to reach staff if there is a problem, and how to alert the site to inaccurate information. This section is meant to serve as one possible way of providing this information clearly, in one place, and easy for readers to find.
Consumer Reports WebWatch's advisers are representatives from consumer groups, academia and journalism. They are unpaid. Participation on the advisory board does not in any way imply responsibility for, or necessarily agreement with, the information, analysis and materials on this Web site.
Consumer Reports WebWatch is a member of the W3C consortium for developing Internet standards; the Internet Society, a grass-roots group focused on Internet policy; and is an at-large structure (ALS) in the user community of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigning Names and Numbers.
WebWatch also serves as an unpaid special adviser to StopBadware.org, a "Neighborhood Watch" initiative led by Harvard University's Berkman Center and the Oxford Internet Institute devoted to helping Internet users avoid downloading malicious spyware, adware and malware programs.
Consumer Reports WebWatch acknowledges these organizations that helped create us: The Pew Charitable Trusts, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Open Society Institute.