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SiteAdvisor Site Rating escalation process
Technical Articles ID:   KB53423
Last Modified:  11/3/2016


McAfee SiteAdvisor Enterprise 3.5
McAfee SiteAdvisor Enterprise Plus 3.0


SiteAdvisor Site Ratings
The SiteAdvisor site rating is the McAfee judgment of a website's reputation based on data accumulated from a site over time. McAfee routinely re-analyzes web sites to update their individual facet ratings and overall site ratings. Facets refer to specific areas of data collection and analysis, including exploits, downloads, links, email, annoyances, and e-commerce.

It is important to note that SiteAdvisor site ratings are not updated in real time. The ratings reflect our interpretation of the data collected at the time of each site visit. SiteAdvisor technology gathers data for each facet using tests that take varying amounts of time to complete. When new data has been collected or existing data has been rechecked, the facets maintain the data for a certain period. After that time has passed, the data is archived and removed from consideration in subsequent ratings.

Read about the McAfee SiteAdvisor site rating policy here: http://www.siteadvisor.com/ratingpolicy.html 

Ratings escalation
Site owners can choose to escalate both their individual facet and overall SiteAdvisor site ratings. The data collected for each facet is subject to a rigid expiration, policy. Escalation is considered on a per-facet basis. If a site has multiple Red or Yellow facets that the owner wants considered for escalation, each facet is considered individually. It is possible for some facets to meet our expiration criteria although others might not.

When the criteria for expiration are met, the aged data no longer affects the relevant facet's rating for each site. The overall rating may also change if the combination of the individual facet scores supports such a change.

Aging Site Data
When facet data for a website has met the data-aging criteria, the relevant ratings will change the next time SiteAdvisor site ratings are published. There are several elements, highlighted in the list below, that might affect this time frame. 

Factors that influence the aging cycle
  • Facets contributing to the existing site rating. Each facet has different aging time frames due to differences in the amount of time it takes to perform a particular test and compile sufficient data.
  • Severity of the offending data. The severity of the data affects the age-out process. Severity is defined differently for each facet. Facets such as downloads and links track how many malicious downloads or links to Red sites there are from the site. The email facet tracks both the volume of spam it receives as well as how long ago the spam was received.
  • Number of escalated rating changes. McAfee also considers the number of times a website has been granted escalated rating changes. With each escalated rating change, the waiting period for data aging increases. For example, a site with no past escalations will change relatively quickly. Were the same site to later be rated Red or Yellow based on new data, the new data will take longer to age out with the second escalation. Aging will take longer still with the third escalation, and so on.
How long does the aging process take?
SiteAdvisor technology uses a detailed algorithm to determine the ageing out of data. As articulated above, there are several factors that affect the aging process. This process is strictly followed for all site owner escalations, which might or might not result in accelerated aging. The following list shows the range for each facet. For each of these ranges, there is a minimum and a maximum time frame, and the preceding points are factored into each escalation.



Typical Time Frame 

Annoyance 10 to 270 days  
Download 10 to 365 days
E-commerce  30 to 365 days
E-mail 60 to 270 days
Exploit 30 to 365 days
Link 10 to 270 days

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