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Here at TUOL, we rate sites in four categories: games, design, reviews and screenshots. There is no overall rating because we think such a thing is not possible to give. Some people like sites with great designs, some want downloads, others fancy reviews. They'd all value the different categories differently - so what would this mysterious overall rating be? We consider our visitors smart enough to draw their own conclusions out of the individual ratings. Here are a few guidelines we're basing them on.

Games: This rating is referring to the rarity of the games available from a site. It is not primarily related to the amount!
'common' - basically the same games most sites have
'mostly common' - a few rarities can be found amongst standard stuff here
'some rare' - a significant minority of the games can be considered rare
'rare' - hard to find games are dominant

Design: This is based on several factors combined. First of all, of course the looks and navigation / ease of use. There are more factors though: originality and compatibility. Sites using pre-made templates (or even full 'content management systems') are exempt from this category.
'simple' - this site is made up of pure text with no attempt at real designing
'ok' - very basic design
'good' - to reach this rating, a site's design would either have to be clean and professional or original
'very good' - such a site has to be technically well done, can't have major quirks in either navigation or compatility (defined as looking vastly identical in latest Opera, Mozilla and Internet Explorer) and has to show some originality
'excellent' - a design which could hardly be any better; looking great, very easy to use, very original and looking identical in browsers down to the so-called 'fourth generation'
There are two 'bad' ratings which are reserved for special cases. If your site received one of these ratings, you should really do something about it:
'faulty' - this site's design is technically disfunctional in some way; examples for this might be overlapping and thus unreadable text, non-working navigation, loads of broken images and such
'quaint' - we hope we'll never use this, but just in case, this rating is reserved for what we define as 'bad taste'; since we are aware this is rather subjective, it is only used in really obvious cases

Reviews: A rating for the more content-driven sites. It is referring to the quality of the reviews provided on the site, not the quantity.
'none' - no reviews of whatever type to be found
'barely' - oneliners which don't really say anything about the game like for example "great game"
'short' - approximately a paragraph-long description
'good' - a good review is multi-paragraphed, has some basic structure (a beginning telling what kind of game it is, an ending drawing a conclusion,...) and on the whole gives you an appetizer of what the game will be like
'very good' - in addition to being 'good', a very good review should feature some kind of analysis of the game, judging individual factors like graphics, sound, story, gameplay and so on
'excellent' - in addition to the requirements of a 'very good' one, such a review gives you additional background info such as personal experiences of the reviewer with the game, related trivia (about the company / programmer which made it, in the case of a movie-conversion something about the film,...)
Don't let the mentioning of sizes fool you - these are only rough estimates. Writing 1000 words will not automatically get you an 'excellent' if there is only very little factual information, it's boring to read and so on. Telling only about your day at school for example does not count, telling a story how you played the game in school classes is a great addition to the basic analysis of the game itself though.

Screenshots: Based on the quantity of the shown screenshots.
'none' - if you like screenshots, you shouldn't go here
'some' - some games have a screenshot, some not; could also be called 'less than one screenshots per game'
'yes' - the short way of saying 'one screenshot per game'
'multiple' - more than one screenshot per game, but not more than four
'zounds' - more screenshots per game than covered by any of the other ratings
That is, again, of course a rough estimate trying to judge the 'usual' number of screenshots on the site. Having 100 games with one screenshot each and one game with 100 screenshots will still only give you a 'yes' and not 'zounds'...

If you disagree with parts of your site's rating (or even the whole thing), feel free to contact any member of our crew. We're always willing to discuss the ratings and give you our reasons why we think they're appropriate. Of course we can't guarantee we'll change the rating, but we'll listen to your reasons why you consider them wrong or unfair and discuss them with you or (in close cases) amongst ourselves.

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