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Anti-Comment-Spam Tag Exploits

Set up Recip-checkers to look for rel=nofollow?

   
7:27 am on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



So who's thowing a little extra code in their bot to make sure a recip link is flagged for review if it contains rel="nofollow"?

Isn't it great to have yet another reason to crunch through the source of link partners? :-S

5:05 pm on Jan 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Y! & MSN joining G does not necessarily imply they are using mechanism similar to PageRank in their algo.

Few other link benefits, that may be affected by new tag (and may or may not be used in algo's) are: simple link count to page and anchor text affecting rank for anchor keywords.

I understand it as a tool into hands of site-owners, allowing to suggest to SEs that the link should not receive a vote for SE ranking. How SEs implement this, well I guess they are not going to tell us.

9:00 am on Jan 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This may be a naive view of the se world, but only SEO's will worry about the nofollow tag. Most webmasters probably won't be aware of the implication of nofollow, or won't bother with putting it on each link. Anyone engaged actively on link exchanges (i.e. links.htm pages) will have to be more careful that they're being recip'd fair, so this will raise the level of suspicion going around and hopefully curb rampant link exchanges. Any other links, say from articles on MSN or whatnot, where PR is not a concern, will take on more importance, and be a better measurement for PR. Sort of another way of seeing at how Google might be looking at it.
6:37 pm on Jan 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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the blogoshere has already formed an anti-nofollow-movement:
[nonofollow.net...]

hope this is not against TOS

7:08 pm on Jan 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



did you place a nofollow tag on that link?:)
9:26 pm on Jan 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The philosophy behind the antinofollowtag movement is that bloggers should monitor their blogs, and delete links posted by spammers.

While that makes sense, no one is saying that a blogger or other website owner is obligated to use the nofollow tag indiscriminately, or use it at all.

Seems to me that this tag could become a useful tool for site owners that want to discourage spam on their site.

For instance, a site owner could automatically use the nofollow tag for all links included in postings unless their software determines that the poster/commenter is "trusted" (e.g. has joined the site, established a track history of relevant, interesting, human-written comments/postings, told the site owner who they are, etc.)

Handled properly by site owners, this could tip the scales away from automated low quality spamming, without necessarily hurting (or perhaps helping) webmasters who specialize in a specific niche. For instance, the SEO oriented webmaster may be a valued contributor to a forum or blog; if so, they could more easily be "rewarded" by being allowed to post links in their comments that don't include the "nofollow" tag.

Bottom line: its much too early to say how this will affect the web, or SEO, but the ripple effects won't necessarily be all bad for WebmasterWorld participants -- particularly those who aren't competing in subject areas where extremely high volume automated processes are a necessity.

4:43 am on Jan 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



It's a big change, imposed upon the web by a select handful of colluding companies, with no warning or discussion. For that reason alone, it is bad.

Doesn't anyone else wonder what deals were made behind those closed doors?

What of the "democratic process" Wikipedia boasted about... was it completely abandoned for this decision and if so, why? Their own discussion area include comments that link spam wasn't too bad a problem, and that the wiki-way was proving itself capableof handling it. Why the unilateral imposition of nofollow?

What about WordPress? They had a history of rapid innovation in the comment spam space, and even now their hacker list is mostly "we don't want it and we don't need it" yet the lead developer/founder is full-bore commited to an immediate implementation. Not only that, but he put it into the core when development has stressed a light core and flexible filter/plug-in architecture. So far he has defended himself against several arguments from developers that the way he's doing it is wrong.

It simply doesn't make sense that projects like Wikipedia and WordPress would go full-speed ahead with this "new idea" unless there was an agreement, and if there was an agreement, there must have been a deal. What was the deal?

The best part of all is this will lead to an exposure of weaknesses and increased transparency.

5:56 am on Jan 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This might not be the proper forum, but ..

I would like to know if there is a way to do a search of G or Y that shows SOURCE CODE words
like nofollow, .php etc.

One search might be for "blue widgets" + nofollow.

Sites coming up for blue widgets would have to have nofollow somewhere in the CODE,
not necessarily visible as text to regular visitors.

Is there such a mechanism in place? A special key or symbol I can put into the search box maybe?
Something short of tedious "view source" routines for each and every page?

- Larry

3:03 pm on Jan 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This may be a naive view of the se world, but only SEO's will worry about the nofollow tag. Most webmasters probably won't be aware of the implication of nofollow, or won't bother with putting it on each link. Anyone engaged actively on link exchanges (i.e. links.htm pages) will have to be more careful that they're being recip'd fair, so this will raise the level of suspicion going around and hopefully curb rampant link exchanges. Any other links, say from articles on MSN or whatnot, where PR is not a concern, will take on more importance, and be a better measurement for PR. Sort of another way of seeing at how Google might be looking at it.

I'd say the goal was less about getting webmasters to notice than getting software developers to build it into the programs they provide to webmasters at all skill levels.

As for Wordpress, simple. Probably one guy at the top. He got a call from Google asking for his help. He may have a relatively big name, but not big enough that a call from Google won't get him to "cooperate" with what they ask. Would you say no if Google called you and asked for a favor?

6:34 am on Jan 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Hey, we updated our Google blog post to mention more companies adding support for nofollow. I believe that makes 30 companies that I know of so far.

Several sites (e.g. Dreambook) are going to go back and retroactively add nofollow to their guestbooks, which is nice. Actions like that start to address the concern that people who are lazy or abandon their site might leave out enough sites to abuse.

6:44 am on Jan 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Most of the blog spam that people complain about are coming from armatures that don't even know what we are talking about. This will not stop people that buy a blog spam program and feed it with thousands or URL's. This is like email spam they don't care. They just throw the stuff out they don't check to see if the site is passing links or even if the site removes their links.

If they do this retroactively what about all the legit links to major sites. You have to realize that people that do seo make up a tiny portion of webmasters. People that do blog spam is even smaller than that. This new tag if implemented everywhere may completely change your search results maybe even a Florida type bomb. There is even a chance that legit sites will fall and all the spam sites will rise up.

A lot of legit sites rank well because of blog entries and personal web pages. Remove that who knows what your search results will look like.

7:28 am on Jan 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



>>>If they do this retroactively what about all the legit links to major sites.

That's an interesting point.

1:00 pm on Jan 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



A lot of bloggers with high pr will lose it.
7:15 am on Jan 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This probably will significantly affect rankings of some blogs that produce good content as all those posts made by people discussing them on other sites will lose their power. Their PR may remain intact for the most part as they probably have many higher PR (main pages) links from other blog owners that of course won't have the nofollow attrib but all those potent anchor text rich links made by the posters will be shot.
8:56 am on Jan 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



So what is the estimated time period to elapse before we see an updated pagerank across the board for all these new "nofollow" tags. Will Google give extra time for them to be implimented or will this effect be felt by early February?

Personally I see that most of the sites that have started to use this were sending us human traffic, not really any rank, so I am not too worried - but I wonder about the multipler effect if a whole bunch of PR6/PR5 sites suddenly become only PR5/PR4 respectively.

11:40 am on Jan 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This worries me a bit. I don't spam blogs much, only if they mention my site or post my images first.

A lot of people find my site because some 3rd or 4th party talked it up in some blog.

If most blog PR is lost, am I about to take a dump in the SERPS? -Larry

12:14 pm on Jan 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



A lot of people find my site because some 3rd or 4th party talked it up in some blog.

If most blog PR is lost, am I about to take a dump in the SERPS?

If all your eggs are in one basket (blogs), than the answer is yes. You do have time to diversify and get some quality incoming links from tons of other sources.

2:51 pm on Jan 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If blog hosting sites are going to mark links as nofollow en-masse, the blogger should be able to validate links somehow, to make the nofollow go away.

That way, the 900,000 blogs that haven't been touched in years would go phase out, and the active bloggers can still switch good links back on.

2:43 pm on Jan 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



googleguy, i do understand nofollow's meaning for keeping google results spam-free but i don't see what weblog owners will get for it.

reason: as long there is 0.01% of sites not using nofollow, there will be comment spam. (somebody said, spammers don't read blogs, they only post to them.)

so why should i be using nofollow if don't have any advantages from it?

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