So, the big announcement (good summary from Scoble) today is that Google and other engines are adding a “NoFollow” attribute that will supposedly reduce comment spam on blogs.
I get a ton a comment spam each day. It’s annoying. And I manually moderate comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks as a result.
But this new “solution” is no such thing.
Three big reasons:
- The spam links will keep on coming – because a lot of blog spamming is done automatically, by scripts, the spam will keep coming. If we opt to NOT moderate comments because “the links don’t count anyway” … we’ll just end up with a blog full of crap comments and trackbacks. This decreases the value of the blog.
- Taking away search engine value does not equal taking away value – if I’m a scumbag spammer and can spam thousands of blogs at the press of a button, even if the search engine value goes away… some, maybe not many, but some people will click on the links in the comments anyway! Comments will shift away from blatant “buy drugs here” and to sneaky things like “I’ve posted about INSERT TOPIC here” … but when the user clicks they’ll end up on a drug site. Spammers WILL adapt.
- I personally will continue moderating and NOT use the new tag because I want people who comment and link to me to get credit – I WANT the people who link and comment on my blog to get credit for it, in the search engines and elsewhere. I’d rather take the time to manually moderate incoming links and comments, keep my blog clean of spam, and give credit to the folks who make blogging as special as it is.
In a nutshell, I think this announcement is damn-near meaningless. It’ll make people feel better, UNTIL they feel the unintended consequences of their actions. Manual moderation is the best way to solve the problem. Yes, it’s work. But maintaining a good blog once you have a following is a responsibility … and it is work … and the good ones will keep doing it.
NOTE: Here’s another dissenting opinion (for different reasons).
I see someone creating a karma hack that will allow each blog admin in WP to be able to select which users get the SE juice and which do not (by the inclusion or exclusion of the “nofollow” tag).
Additional excellent summary resources: More on the Rel=NoFollow Tag.