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Where is 'nofollow' in all of this? Unless the blog CMS is custom built then 'nofollow' links are standard on comments these days.
"...it was clear that he was trying to piggy back on the traffic and drive the traffic from people reading the article directly to whatever he was promoting, so even if those links were nofollow, if we see enough mass scale action that we consider deceptive or manipulative, we do reserve the right to take action...."
Google's founders (and people like Matt Cutts) have been around long enough to remember how trolls and spammers contributed to the demise of UseNet. Encouraging people to use their real names--and verified IDs--helps to make the Web a "clean, well-lighted place" and leads to higher-quality discussions.
After all, if there are two similar blog posts about the same thing (such as Matt Cutts's newest video), why not highlight the post that includes comments by real people, rather than the one that's accompanied by comments from anonymous trolls?
I'm fairly certain that job should fall on a site's operators, not a search engine -- The "self appointed Internet Police" mentality Google seems to have is a bit too much for me.
Google just wants to return the best results for its end users. Is it wrong for Google to drop hints about what may (or may not) help sites rank in end users' searches?
Time to throw away your dated playbook and figure out a new way to reach the masses (perhaps smoke signals or drums).
Maybe even devolve a bit.
Perhaps it's time to revisit some of the things we abandoned because they didn't suit Google's master plan.
I've seen so many actual results that vary from the Google's best practice spiel that I can't take it seriously anymore.
and if they do something I think is "good", then I say so, but when they "just plain mess up", then I'm not afraid to post about it
We just need to realize their best results are what provide them the greatest return
If I were an unscrupulous person I'd certainly be tempted to fire up some bots and spam the heck out of every blog I can find with anchor text nofollow links to my competitors' websites.
slowly squeezing everything with commercial intent out of the organic listingsI don't see Amazon getting squeezed out (which should emphasize the above point).
Amazon is not a good example, given that the Google/Amazon relationship has been the subject of antitrust investigations by the US FTC.