I’ve decided to add my disdain to Google’s request to Twitter to add a nofollow to links contained within the bio section of user profiles.
Rae Hoffman is not afraid to stand-up for what’s right, and I’m happy to lend my support. In case you missed the story, here’s what happened.
The “web” link has always been a nofollow link, but the bio links passed popularity until Dave Naylor exposed it, which alerted Matt Cutts (a Google engineer) who sent a tweet to @ev (a twitter founder) about Dave’s forementioned post and *poof* bio links were nofollowed.
I’m particularly annoyed because nofollow is supposed to be used on links where you do not wish to vouch for the link–at least by passing PageRank. However, my profile at Twitter was built by me, promoted by me, and any incoming links are the result of my hard work to build a community around it. As Rae points out, Twitter is benefiting from those incoming links, so why can’t I?
So, why would Twitter give-in so easily to Google? I’ll let Rae have the last word:
I find it hard to believe that @biz (another twitter founder) and @ev would not feel their users deserved ALL the benefits of being active on Twitter and helping them build their own popularity and brand. I find it easier to believe that maybe Google wanted these links nofollowed in an effort to make up for their inadequacies and like the many others in Silicon Valley, Twitter has no interest to be made an example of. But who knows? Only they can answer.
An even bigger question for me is, if, IF, Google is really coercing companies like Twitter based on threats of dropping them from their index for non-compliance, at what point does someone decide that due to Google’s reach and power, that doing so is no longer a case of “guidelines” but rather one of blackmail?
UPDATE: It’s probably only fair that we link to Matt Cutt’s post about the matter.