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You know what's going to happen, the search engines are going to have to deprecate this tag because everyone misuses it.
I've been surfing with the Search Status extension for FireFox set to automatically highlight nofollow links and it's very enlightening. More and more sites are using nofollow to manipulate link popularity with both internal and external links.
Here's an example of nofollow being misused (in my opinion) on an official google blog I saw the other day:
The link to JavaOne has nofollow. It seems Google doesn't trust Sun, or could it be they are manipulating link popularity?
And a previous poster is correct --b.com will now be of zero value to most people with their nofollowed links.
Is Yahoo next?
Yahoo considers it a mistake that it was even intoduced into the web and as far as I know G$$G is the only SE that MIGHT be using it.
For add'l info you may want to do a search on "jeremy zawodny nofollow". The effects of the tag have inhibited the very thing that makes the web work (linking).
I personally feel that Matt Cutts did a "sneaky redirect" when he promoted the use of the tag as a way to combat comment spam and then later upped its use to "paid links", its one thing to index the web quite another to attempt to reshape it to the liking of your commercial interest.
business.com was intimidated into using a tag that will impact their revenues -- the value of a listing there just went down by orders of magnitude BUT G$$G can plaster their ubiquitous ads ad nauseum. The short story is G$$G gets paid for ads, no else does.
You want exposure? You buy into the G$$G mess.
That tag should be dead and buried.
[edited by: TypicalSurfer at 4:14 pm (utc) on June 24, 2006]
I actually find their PPC app to be 2nd to Adwords(blows overture and MSN out of the water)
I had considered buying an actual directory link but had never actually gone through with it. (now I'm happy I didn't.) I'm sure they didn't inform any customers of this change.
A problem I had with them, that the "no follow" tag now fixes is, once you deleted a PPC listing with them, it would automatically turn into a regular link for 15 days. At this time Google would then index my tracking URLs, and screw with all of my SERP positions.
That would be one guess as to why they did this, but adding "no follow" to the standard links is another story.
From Google's website [googleblog.blogspot.com]:
it's... a way to make sure that spammers get no benefit from abusing public areas like blog comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists.
Q: What types of links should get this attribute?
A: We encourage you to use the rel="nofollow" attribute anywhere that users can add links by themselves, including within comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists. Comment areas receive the most attention, but securing every location where someone can add a link is the way to keep spammers at bay.
It's commonly understood that manipulating the way a search engine ranks websites- beyond making a site spiderable and making sure the content contains keywords, is spam. So is misusing the no-follow tag any different?