There was an acquisition recently that didn’t get much attention, but I think it’s worth a blog post.

The company is called SiteAdvisor and it was backed by Bessemer and General Catalyst. We looked at the company when it was just getting formed in early 2005 and liked the team and the idea a lot, but didn’t get there quickly enough. And so we missed an opportunity to be involved in something pretty interesting.

SiteAdvisor was sold to McAfee in early April. Here’s the blog post announcing the deal by Chris Dixon, the founder and CEO of SiteAdvisor.

SiteAdvisor is a reputation system for web pages. They categorize and database web pages and let you know if something bad is going to happen to you if you go to those pages.

The best way to get started with SiteAdvisor is to install the Firefox extension or the plug-in for Internet Explorer.  There is no Safari support yet although the website says they intend to support additional browsers.

Once you do the install (which is very quick), you will start seeing green checks and red x’s on search results. To show this, I did a Google search on "free ipod" and here is the result page.


You’ll notice that if you mouse over one of the red x’s (as I did in this screen shot), you get a description of what’s bad on that web page.  You get the same thing on green checks, but it explains why they think its a "clean page".

One thing that is interesting is the number of red checks on the sponsored results for "free ipod". Of the three sponsored listings at the top of the organic results, two have red checks. Of the eight sponsored listings on the right, four are checked red and two are as yet untested.  Clearly there is a high cost for a free ipod on the Internet!

If you are sick of clicking on links and getting bad stuff, try SiteAdvisor. It’s a really good service and clearly was also a great investment.