Website sponsor

A website sponsor with a vested interest in making a profit is not likely to provide balanced information. Often website sponsors appear on the sidebars of a website or across the top. The “About Us” section of a website will often indicate who the website is sponsored by.

Web address

The ending of a web address can give you clues as to the reliability of the information.

The website ending .gov means that the website is owned and operated by the government. No one but the government can use .gov so you can feel safe about the content of the website.

The website ending .edu is always affiliated with universities, colleges and educational sites. Usually you can feel safe about the trustworthiness of the content, however, many universities let students host websites using .edu, so not every website is authored by an educator.

The website ending .org was originally set up for non-profit organizations, but the designation no longer exists today. This domain extension is often used for non-profits such as schools and communities, but is also used by for-profit entities.

The website endings .com or .net are open to the public to use. Keep in mind that some websites ending in .com or .net that offer scholarly advice are trying to sell you their product.

Be alert if ...                  

• The website sponsor is for-profit;

• The authors’ credentials are not related to the topic;

• The website address ending has .com, .net or .org.                 

Be assured if ...

• The author is qualified to discuss the subject;

• The information was reviewed by a qualified person;

• The web address ending has .gov or .edu.

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