Robert_Charlton - 10:27 pm on Feb 18, 2011 (gmt 0)
I agree with indyank that the intention of the links is to avoid helping the owners of the reference sites. The question is... why do it this particular way? Why not just use rel="nofollow"?
The code for the links in question is:
<a class='jsNoFollow' rel="http://www.example.com/original-article" target="_blank">
Clearly this is to affect Googlebot somehow while still looking good to the casual observer. Is eHow hoping to hoard PR and get around the rel="nofollow" black hole effect? ...or just to fool those reference sources that don't check hard enough?
The sources by definition have got to be trusted by eHow, so... from a trust perspective... rel="nofollow" would be inappropriate.
It's difficult to say how Google would be looking at these. We had a two page discussion about a Matt Cutts' tweet about cloaking and redirects back in December....
Matt Cutts Offers a "Heads-Up" for 2011
Google will [look] more at cloaking in Q1 2011. Not just page content matters; avoid different headers/redirects to Googlebot instead of users. [twitter.com...]