This Is Not A Solution To Comment Spam

by john on January 18, 2005

A few days ago Dave started to leak the rumor that something big was going on in the weblog world. Today it’s become official as announcements have started to come out about how web companies are coming together to address the serious problem of comment spam in weblogs.

The solution is support of the “rel=nofollow” tag to links added to comments on weblogs. The thinking is that any link that the owner of the site did not add themselves, i.e. in comments, should not be trusted and as such should not be included in calculating pagerank at Yahoo, Google, and other search engines.

Am I insane to think this is a really bad idea?

First of all, it isn’t going to solve anything. The spammers will still throw out their automated scripts hoping some shit sticks, and stick it will because not everyone is going to implement this.

Secondly, one of the reasons why weblogs do so well in Google is that many of us build relationship links through sites by adding constructive comments on related posts. This interlinking of sites through comments (good comments, mind you) is an appropriate way of judging the value of both the site the comment appears on and the site from which the commenter comes from.

The “rel=nofollow” tag solution is throwing the baby out with the bath water! Fix the damn problem instead.

Speaking of which I have gone from many, many spam a day to one or two a week just using a simple template change that the spammers still haven’t picked up on. Sure they will at some point but silence is so sweet for now. Use a page rank checker to see if this has impacted you.

[UPDATE] – I don’t usually agree with Andrew Orlowski but he nailed it with his comment on Russell’s post. I feel the same way. But to date I’m in the minority from what I’ve seen.

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