Sebastian's Pamphlets

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Say No to NoFollow Follow-up

Say NO to NOFOLLOW - copyright jlh-design.comI don't want to make this the nofollow-blog, but since more and more good folks don't love the nofollow-beast any more, here is a follow-up on the recent nofollow discussion. Follow the no-to-nofollow trend here:

Loren Baker posts 13 very good reasons why rel=nofollow sucks. He got dugg, buried, but tons of responses in the comments, where most people state that rel=nofollow was a failure with regard to the current amount of comment spam, because the spammers spam for traffic, not link love. Well, that's true, but rel=nofollow at least nullifies the impact spamming of unmoderated blogs had on search results, says Google. Good point, but is it fair to penalize honest comment authors by nofollow'ing their relevant links by default? Not really. The search engines should work harder on solving this problem algorithmically, and CMS vendors should go back to the white board to develop a reasonable solution. Matt Mullenweg from WordPress admits that "in hindsight, I don’t think nofollow had much of an effect [in fighting comment spam]", and I hope this insight triggers a well thought out workflow replacing the unethical nofollow-by-default (see follow you, follow me).

At Google's Webmaster Help Center regular posters nag Googlers with questions like Is rel=nofollow becoming the norm? Google's search evangelist Adam Lasnik stepped in and states "As you might have noticed, many of the world's most successful sites link liberally to other sites, and this sort of thing is often appreciated by and rewarded by visitors. And if you're editorially linking to sites you can personally vouch for, I can't see a reason to no-follow those." and "On the whole [nofollow thingie], while Matt's been pretty forthcoming and descriptive, I do think we Googlers on the whole can do a better job in explaining and justifying nofollow". Thanks Adam, while explaining Google's take on rel=nofollow to the great unwashed, why not start a major clean-up to extend this microformat and to make it useful, useable and less confusing for the masses?

While waiting for actions promised by the nofollow inventor, here is a good summary of nofollow clarifications by Googlers. I've a ton of respect for Matt, I know he listens and picks reasonable arguments even from negative posts, so stay tuned (I do hope my tiny revamp-nofollow campaign is not seen as negative press by the way).

A very good starting point to examine the destructive impact rel=nofollow had, has, and will have if not revamped, is Carsten Cumbrowski's essay explaining why rel=nofollow leverages mistrust among people. I do not provide quotes because I want you all to read and reread this great article.

Robert Scoble rethinking his nofollow support says "I was wrong about "NoFollow" ... I'm very concerned, for instance, about Wikipedia's use of nofollow". Scroll down, don't miss out on the comments.

Michael Gray's strong statement Google's policy on No follow and reviews is hypocritical and wrong is worth a read, he's backing his point of view providing a complete nofollow-history along with many quotes and nofollow-tidbits.

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  • At Friday, February 16, 2007, Anonymous JLH said…

    Excellent article, I think I'm going to start looking into this further as well. Maybe we can generate a ground swell of support. I like the quick and dirty image in the "ghost busters" theme i had made, maybe I should turn that into a button?


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