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Inbound contextual links from blogs with strong domain authority and very on-topic content do work very well for me.
After all, it is arguable that Google still follow and pass on some link juice on nofollow links. Think Wikipedia.
IMHO... blog comments, even on VERY relevant blogs, are only worth a penny or two at most in backlink value, nofollowed or not!
But what if those blog comments were on a moderated blog of PR6 / PR7 and the blog owner only allowed a select few comments in the first place (maybe 3 or 4 per post) and none of them were of the traditional spam variety.
I don't believe this is always the case, and believe that depending on the authority of the source, those outbound nofollow links might actually increase your hub score, or weight of the link to you, from an article or blog post.
If you were working at Google and did a hand review of a site that was ranking due to large amounts of blog comments, what would you think of that?
They're legit, relevant, easy to navigate, well-designed sites with the content on it that Google users search for.
In the niche I watch closely, there are sites that are MUCH better than those in the top ten - and I will admit they are better than mine as well. Better design, better photos of the products, better navigation, better text content, and better prices.
The question is; Does Google mind comment links in blogs and articles to relevant sites like these?
These sites all have original, legitimate, super-relevant content and most pages on the sites are 500-1000+ word pages. The sites are all user-friendly, easy to navigate, branded and designed well.