Sebastian's Pamphlets

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Is the spam condom efficient and ethical?

Jim Boykin from WeBuildPages raises a few very good questions in his 2-part-essay on link condoms in blog comments. Jim finally asks "Is the rel=nofollow our friend or our enemy?" and I've no definite answer.

If Blogger would allow me to opt out of the comment condom thingy I would do it with this blog. When I don't delete a comment containing a link, then the poster has something to say, and an embedded link doesn't deserve castration regardless whether I agree or not. Well, perhaps I'd unlink overdone URL drops in some cases.

If I would run a popular blog, I'd like a white-list approach best. That is every link in comments gets sterilized by default and all posts are pre-moderated, captchas in place. Trusted users could post instantly without link condom, and I could pull the condom from particular comments. I'm not aware of any blog software handling it this way, unfortunately.

Is the spam condom efficient? Nope. Comment moderation, captchas, spam filters, perhaps even registering users is enough to prevent a blog from comment spam. Also, many blogs run outdated, never updated pre-nofollow software, that is savvy spammers can still inject crappy links at enough places to keep it profitable.

Is the spam condom ethical? Nope. At least not when the blogger can't opt out. Not every comment is spam. Comments add content to a blog. Why penalize the content vendors?

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  • At Tuesday, January 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As long as the blog owners are in control of it, I fail to see the 'ethical' problem with it.

    In fact the best thing about it is that (most) blog owners do have control over it. It may be on by default, but they can turn it off, or set it only for unknown emails, or for emails before they are moderated.

    One good comment on that post mentioned that if you are moderating each comment manually before they are displayed, it's unlikely that you'd need to use nofollow.

  • At Tuesday, January 03, 2006, Blogger Sebastian said…

    Yep, I can't opt out at and that annoys me.


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