Posted February 14, 2007 3:58 pm by with 17 comments

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Over at SEJ, Loren provides 13 reasons why the NoFollow tag simply sucks. My favorite?

Linking to someone with a NoFollow attribute is a sign of not trusting them. It’s like reaching to shake someone’s hand, but stopping to put on a pair of latex gloves.

Loren’s also turned off the default nofollow for links in comments. It’s a bold move, and I’ll be watching to see if it impacts the amount of spam or quality of comments.

We’re also going to be testing a new plugin which will reward loyal commentators with a link without the “nofollow” attribute. Stay tuned!

  • Can you expand on the new plugin? Is it something that was custom made for your site or is it a third party plugin that we can all enjoy?

    It’s a great idea, either way.

  • Let me test it first. 😉 Then I’ll share.

  • I would definitely be interested in this new plugin. I am using DoFollow to disable NoFollow, but I would like to be able to have more control over who is NoFollowed and who isn’t. Still, this is definitely a good sign and maybe I can start getting some juice again.

  • I’m going to give DoFollow a shot and see what happens. Akismet already does an excellent job for me at nuking the spammy comments. And I want to encourage folks commenting on my blog.

  • I wouldn’t think it would increase the spam comments so much as lowering the general quality. You’d probably see more people posting a short, useless comment like “I agree” or “good post”. I see it a lot in the forums, where people post crap posts just to get their signature into the thread. Not that it doesn’t happen in blogs, but I’d think it would tend to increase when people think they might be getting some juice from the links.

  • I installed no nofollow about a month ago… and then installed the wikipedia nofollow a few days later. I appreciate both. Having nofollow on your blog is like telling folks you don’t want to promote their comment or respect their voice.

  • Peter – that is a good point. I’m sort of wondering if brief comments like that might deserve to be nuked. I’d definitely do so if it was from a commenter I didn’t reconize and the URL was obviously something shifty.

    Of course, my blog doesn’t get much traffic or many comments so it’s still feasable for me to take each comment on a case by case basis…!

  • Yep, you’re right on with that. But then, if anyone is going to be removing the nofollow from comments, they’re in effect saying exactly that, that they’re going to be taking each comment on a case by case basis to ensure that the site being linked to is of quality. IMO, that’s the purpose of the nofollow, if it’s a link that hasn’t passed editorial control. If the blog’s owner is going to check and vouch for each of them, then yea the nofollow doesn’t need to be used.

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  • Since when is linking to someone in a non-offensive way a bold move ? No follow is a concept that was corrupted from the start by google trying to use it as a proxy war against paid links.

  • I have looked at all kinds of ways to just have followable links for the people who deserve it, and none of them left me with that warm glowing feeling that it was the right way to do it.

    If people are leaving real comments, they shouldn’t be subject to a comment threshold to get followable links. That encourages poor quality comments.

    It shouldn’t be subject to some kind of karma – that encourages people to leave comments that are going to be “Dugg” by other commenters in some kind of incestuous alliance.

    My solution has always to have a clear comments policy, and to delete the “nice post” kind of comments.

    Remember you are using subscribe by email. Do you really want junk comments being sent to everyone in the conversation?

    What I am experimenting with is forcing people to read my comments policy before they are able to comment.

    Just get rid of the link condoms 😉

  • If you haven’t already, everyone should follow some of the advice of John Chow. By implementing just a few of his techniques, spam almost disappears. At least the automated kind does. The manual stuff always has to be handled manually.

  • Thanks for the links Jeremy.

    nofollow doesn’t really bother me. I don’t think it does anything to stop automated comment spam though, since I think those are done more for the direct traffic anyway.

    I would be concerned that there would be more of the useless ‘me too’ type comments and I would expect more people would embed links into comments if the nofollow wasn’t there.

    Even if the nofollow were to go away does anyone really think a link from a blog comment is going to be worth all that much? I would think they’d end up on par with a forum signature link. Would removing the nofollow be all that much of a reward for loyal commenters?

  • It should go away until there is some kind of standard. It makes no sense that something created to prevent spam is now supposed to be used for paid links. So that makes the spam and paid links the same again, so spammers would be spamming to get the same benefit as the paid links. Which is basically a chance that someone will see it and click it.

  • Tim, it’s been perverted way beyond that even. I’ve seen directories that ask for a fee if you want the nofollow removed, but then Google actually recommends to pay for directory links, but then they say the paid directory links aren’t paid links at all but you pay for the “review” but they don’t explain how they’re going to know who’s qualified to accept payement for a “reviewed” link as opposed to who’s links are paid spam, or is it just Yahoo that’s allowed to do that?

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