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Is it possible that we're getting any other benefits...
Are millions, or perhaps billions, of genuine citations being banished to oblivion...
I asked Matt Cutts about this several years ago and he said that no-follows are not distorting the link graph.
several years ago no one cared about nofollow because Google wasn't dishing out confusing animal penalties. Talk to Matt today and I bet the distortion is a lot more murky.
netmeg posted in another thread that she gives out dofollow links to sites that she thinks would be useful to the visitors to HER page.
Evidently in Google's view, a dofollow link from some obscure personal blog should count for more than a nofollow link from the NY Times or Harvard University.
From a purely selfish point of view - why give a followed link - unless you're being paid or otherwise rewarded?
complex and confusing penalties with almost no communication is hurting the good guys more than the bad guys
...for no apparent reason
I'm dying for Google to start talking with us. Tell us what you want. Tell us directly where we are going wrong and why you are penalizing us.