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But rather, this seems to have happened mainly with links from edited and 'controllable' content on huge 'authority' sites - major broadcasters, news agencies and so on.
Many people seem to be changing to rel no follow these days
In Google's algorithm, a dofollow link from an obscure free directory counts for more than a nofollow link from the New York Times or Harvard University. This is exactly the opposite of what it should be. The whole thing is totally messed up.
Not at all, the bot is doing exactly what it has been told to do
I can tell you that NoFollow is just there for the first part of the equation. Once you Tweet, and the API bots pick it up, that NoFollow get's stripped and away she goes! I know, I've watched it over and over again. My logfiles are a clear sign of what happens immediately after Tweeting a link.
The worrying point is not that this may happen on blog links, or forums (legitimate use of the rel="nofollow tag IMO). But rather, this seems to have happened mainly with links from edited and 'controllable' content on huge 'authority' sites - major broadcasters, news agencies and so on.
You really think a site would drop in SERPs because it changed external links to no follow?
Especially since it's not how Google intended the option to work.
There appear to be indications that Google realise that they've shot themselves in the foot with nofollow, because they definitely are at least crawling nofollow links from certain sites (Twitter for one).
Be sure to read P1R's explanation in that thread on how the Twitter nofollow links ultimately get followed
They always did crawl those links, the nofollow attribute only removes the destination link from the Google link graph when calculating value.