10 Signs What You're Reading Online Is Bogus

The Brand is Unfamiliar
Just because a site isn't branded with a huge name doesn't mean it's not credible, but if you can't find any info about the site anywhere else, you might want to look elsewhere for facts. ©iStockphoto.com/sjlocke

Quality online brands include sites operated by university or local libraries, hospitals, medical schools and research centers -- these are the big names such as the Cornell University Library or Harvard Medical School. They include the newspapers, magazines and blogs we read, and all our favorite products. These are the names most of us will recognize as being experts in the field; we trust information from these experts online because we trust their established offline reputations.

So what should you do when you find yourself wondering, "Maybe this guy has a point -- what site is this, anyway?" When you don't immediately recognize where you've wound up online, you'll want to get some bearings: Go to the site's main page. A Web site's home page may not be the most important page on the site, but it may be the most useful when you're looking for credibility cues, such as a company name or contact information.

Author's Note: 10 Signs What You're Reading Online Is Bogus

To do my job well means I do a lot of online research, and since I do a lot of research I spend a lot of time determining whether or not a site is a solid, credible source of information or if it's just a bunch of hooey. In my own experience I've found that sticking with those three basic steps -- using intuition, heuristics and a little bit of strategy -- gets the best results, and it gets to be second-nature after you practice it a few times.

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