Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Microformats, Plugins, Search, Spam, WordPress and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

91 Responses to Follow you, follow me

  1. Nicd says:

    Btw, it’s Kimmo Suominen, not Suomenin. :P

  2. Bes Z says:

    Good point. I somehow saw the nofollow tag helping search engines focus on fewer links than before and thus having less stress [technically], if you can call it that. To the average user and commentor, it was somehow not that beneficial. It was interesting to see Wikipedia adopting the nofollow tag recently, making sure that it takes all the “juice” and doesn’t give much back to the community itself other than the articles themselves. I like my readers, and I want them to get any juice they can because they dedicate time and effort to come and participate on my site.

    As for Akismet, it has been effective for me also, eliminating the need for a nofollow tag so far. Very rarely does it get a few false positives, but since one can go through the spam moderation folder before deleting, it is easy to let Akismet know about the mistakes it makes so it can improve.

    I am also using a plugin [from 2005] to achieve similar results:

    http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/wordpress-15-plugin-strip-nofollow-tag-from-comment-urls/

    Thanks for sharing your opinion on this.

  3. Ajay says:

    Glad to know you’ve joined the list of not using nofollow.

    I’ve got Dofollow installed on my main blog.

    I like the idea of KimmoSuominen’s plugin of removing after a few days. Is this a permanent remove? Or does it do it on the fly?

  4. Mr Papa says:

    That’s my exact set up too… a couple of days seems sufficient to weed out the occasional spam missed by Akismet

  5. drmike says:

    I find it interesting that you link to Wikipedia without any “nofollow noindex” remarks while they themselves mark such links as such. :)

    Link. Scobleizer talked about this as well recently but I can’t find it right off.

  6. Pingback: Why NoFollow Links Suck » Interweb World

  7. Bes Z says:

    drmike, you bring up an excellent point. That is why many people are stumped. People are willing to link to Wikipedia and make them popular through such links [like the one Dougal posted above], and the Wikipedia staff does get paid through such popularity [donations mainly because of being so popular], yet Wikipedia has decided to classify all external links as something that major search engines should not pay any attention to.

  8. Dougal says:

    Nicd: Oops, so right. Corrected. (Dang, I just knew I was going to typo his name)

    Ajay: I think the answer to your question is “yes”. Or actually, “it depends”. If you don’t use the timeout feature, the plugin will filter out the rel=”nofollow” on comment links before they go into the database. But in any case, it will strip them out at display time on a comment-by-comment basis.

    drmike: I’m not saying that nobody should use nofollow. I’m saying that in my case, I have confidence in my ability to block spam links by other means, so that nofollow isn’t necessary. Wikipedia is a completely different animal from a personal blog, and has a whole different set of considerations. While the lack of “juice” to legitimate links is disappointing, I understand why they feel the need to use nofollow. Perhaps in the future, they could “re-follow” links from pages that haven’t been edited in more than a week, or somesuch measure like that.

    Bes Z: As I stated above, I don’t hold anything against Wikipedia for using nofollow. That’s their decision to make based on their circumstances.

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  12. Brendan says:

    Another person to see the light.

    I’ve never considered rel=nofollow anything more than Google’s answer to a fundamental flaw in pagerank, I said as much at the time too (anyone who assumes Google did it for “the love” of the blogging community has a screw loose). :)

    To be honest – with the advent of Akismet and a number of good anti-spam technologies, I have no clue why rel=nofollow remains in the wordpress core, given it does exactly 0 to help and simply denies every valid commenter link juice.

    Nice to see you join the ever growing number of people who have ignored Google’s idea of a good time.

  13. Jason says:

    Has it been two years already? Seems like just yesterday when combating spam was a daily exercise in patience :P

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  15. Rirath says:

    I sure do wish we could dump nofollow from the core. Frankly, I’m far more inclined to comment and participate on sites and forums without nofollow. If I see a nofollow tag, I question if I really want to contribute.

    The only reasonable rationale for nofollow I’ve ever heard is explained as “This means the site owner did not link to the site in question, but rather a user did, and thus the site owner does not want to be responsible for the content.”

    That’s great in theory… but if whatever your comments or users are linking to is bad enough you don’t want Google to count it against you, you ought to be filtering it out anyway.

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  19. Marc says:

    Bravo. I’ve now installed this on my blog. I’m very happy to see a push to remove nofollows. They weren’t a great solution when they began and we’ve got better tools now so let’s abolish them. I really appreciate the discussion on this topic Dougal.

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  21. Jamdo says:

    I have been using a dofollow plugin on my blog for quite a while, but it wasn’r until after I had tried several comment spam plugins that I was brave enough to do it. ;)

    With the effectiveness of akismet and spam karma, it might be time for WP to consider taking out the nofollow altogther, eh?

  22. Dougal says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect this to get as much as attention as it has.

    For those of you who suggest removing nofollow as a default option in core, I’m pretty sure that it will stay in for the foreseeable future. Why? Because one of the things it guards against is orphaned blogs.

    Blogs that are set up and then forgotten by their owners are a favorite target for spammers. These sites will collect spam comments for months, or years, with nobody around to “tend the garden”. While an individual orphaned site is unlikely to lend much juice to the spammed links, the collective weight of the multitude of long-tail orphans will add up without nofollow in place.

    Sure, you and I are vigilant about weeding our comments, but there are more sites out there than we can imagine that are just crawling with unmoderated spams.

  23. Andy Beard says:

    Dougal

    There are other ways to handle orphaned blogs

    1. If comments haven’t been moderated for x weeks, enforce moderation on all comments
    2. If comments haven’t been moderated for x months, switch off the comment form

    Implementing something like this would then allow WordPress.com to maybe think about optionally allowing some kind of dofollow

  24. I’am very surprised about such things as nofollow, mail providers ban and other anti spam tricks, which realy harm users more than spammers. I have an article on a several tricks on how to protect from spam. Quite easy and effective.

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  27. Chris says:

    I too will remove it, I’m glad to see people taking this stance. With other more effective means of spam prevention the nofollow doesn’t make sense.

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  34. Art Kauffman says:

    I’ve thought about this for quite a while, and heard both sides of the debate. I’ve decided you’re right. We bloggers need to band together to make us an even bigger force in the search engines…
    Yay for DoFollow!
    – Art Kauffman

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  36. JK says:

    Glad to hear that you’re using DoFollow, especially since you have influence over the design of WordPress.

    Personally, after reading Andy Beard’s Ultimate List of DoFollow Plugins, I’ve decided to reward commenters with at least 3 comments and not just anyone. So, I’ve switched to LinkLove. I hope this won’t be perceived as calculating. I merely think that a dialog on a post surely isn’t made up of just one comment.

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  40. Cade says:

    This is a great addition. I agree that the no follow process is rather pointless because comments are so vital to what makes a blog a blog. It is interaction, evaluation, contribution, and serving a common good. I think it is a great tool.

  41. Very good stuff guys. Has anyone else noticed that Yahoo seems to be counting links that have ‘no follow’s on them? I was looking through some of my links in the yahoo engine and noticed that some of them had no follows on them. I think they count them! It would be somewhat of a victory if they discarded the Google invented command.

  42. As a reletively new webmaster I was not aware of the differance in follow or no follow, Does it affect my linkbacks, traffic or pagerank at google. I own a few web directories and just turned the no-follow attribute off because all the honest directory postings were not getting their just reward. And I also reallise the wast of all those good posts and info that should get indexed.
    Dan Bradstreet

  43. For the most part, I agree with you. However, comment spam is fast evolving. Many are now using Markov Chain-based systems that use proxy farms. Not only does the text and link change, the IPs change with it. Also, I noticed a few were doing logic linking to get around bans.

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  45. Dougal says:

    However, comment spam is fast evolving. Many are now using Markov Chain-based systems that use proxy farms.

    Yup, as a matter of fact, I got hit by one of those spammers today. They pingbacked a recent post, and the originating site had used Markov chaining to create content that almost-but-not-quite made sense. It combined a couple of sentences from my post with text from other content.

    After digging around on the domain (there appeared to be several sub-blogs running under the main domain), I found the whole site was like that. Ever post was full of semi-random algorithmically mashed-up text based on a common theme, and of course, the site was covered in Adsense.

    I reported the sites to Google, and to the web hosting company.

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  47. Audi says:

    What you are missing is that people will post “related” comments just to get links. I don’t know if its worth it.

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  49. Rinsem says:

    I’ve been using DoFollow for sometime now and participated in all of the hype surrounding it by leaving comments on posts like this. I think it does build more of a community as encourages comments which is what we all like to see right?

  50. phd says:

    i’ve been using the semiologic’s dofollow plugin, and its working great, i also have the math plugin to prevent comment spam (although this is not 100% foolproof)

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  52. Hobo Design says:

    Yeah us too – good bye nofollow. After researching the NoFollow tag I’m surprised it was introduced at all at any time. Who was it supposed to deter? Spammers don’t care if it is a human or spider that clicks on a link, so they will always keep trying to spam blogs – it costs them nothing to do it – they’re not exactly going to put in measures to avoid “nofollow blogs if their spam bot detects it are they?

  53. ksav says:

    “With that in mind, I’ve installed Kimmo Suominen’s dofollow plugin here, and configured it to remove the rel=”nofollow” attribute from comment links after two days”
    On my mind this is very great idea! It need to make a some “pressure” on Blogs nd GuestBook software’s manufacturers to implement this future as default setting.
    May be more better to leave rel=”nofollow” in all posts, while they “not approved” by site owner or administrator via AdminPanel.
    Thus, all nonmoderated blogs nd guestbooks cannot influence the SEPR!
    I used similar idea at my russian forum, but the above idea is more flexible nd usefull.

    If you do not object, I shall use it in my further projects.

  54. Libri says:

    There is also a little community that sounds like “U comment – I follow”, anyway I agree with you, I have recently installed it on my blog.

  55. Dexter says:

    I have implemented this do follow in my blog and I think it is worthit since the comments on my blogs increases

  56. selectspalt says:

    google has even gone so far as to say recently that all advertising links should include the use of the nofollow attribute in their attempt to regular the sale of links for PR purposes. Matt Cutt’s blog talks about this in great depth.

  57. Iphone User says:

    Is this plugin specific to WordPress?

  58. Hi Doug,

    I finally removed nofollow today. Nofollow is irrelevant with comment spams. I let Askimet and Spam Karma to catch them :)

  59. Michael says:

    Maybe the next version of WordPress could be DoFollow by default. Then let’s see how many versions of NoFollow plugins are developed.

    Or better yet, more likely that one could develop a plugin that tweaks DoFollow under certain conditions, such as during moderation. The blog author could leave the link but apply NoFollow, maybe?

  60. SEO Software says:

    The 2 day limitation is absolutely brilliant – plenty of time to catch the spammers who are the only reason to not pass along the juice. Unfortunately, many people are laboring under the incorrect assumption that a link from them somehow detracts from their own PR, and this is a reason many folks use “nofollow”. I have even seen it on a links page where they traded with others! I have to assume it isn’t completely malicious, but sheer ignorance.

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  62. As a new webmaster I was not aware of the difference in follow or nofollow, Does no follow mean a higher page rank because of less pagerank leakage? How would nofollow affect my incomming links, Do webmasters check for no-follow in the source code before linking. And even if they did how would it affect my site. Would I receive less targeted web traffic.

  63. Alex says:

    Good read, I actually just added dofollow because of it. Thanks

  64. Copes Flavio says:

    I just realized that so many blogs around use the nofollow practice… it’s not-so-good.

  65. Gta says:

    I read it and I think you are right. You should write more about it.

  66. angie says:

    I’ll remove nofollow and let Akismet handle the spammers in my site.

  67. Nice Information for Nofollow.. thanks

  68. Raziella says:

    Every single link on the page is “nofollow” because of the meta robots tag:

    Even if the links don’t have the nofollow attribute individually, the robots meta tag cuts any hope of passing link juice from this page.

  69. Lbug says:

    I think nofollow was a good idea as a basic antidote to spam marketing, but things have moved on since then and there are more sophisticated methods around now. Also, it should be in the hands of the individual blogger how comments are handled.

  70. Your automatic removal of nofollow isn’t working is it? EG Aldian Prakoso Posted 6/19/2007 has nofollow in the link. And others …

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  72. chad says:

    after reading about this I installed dofallow on my site!

  73. 0 Down Home Buyers says:

    This no follow option gives the powers that be, even more power.
    I do not link my real estate site to any Websites that use the no-follow option.

  74. Dale Rose says:

    Wouldn’t it be simpler if the blog software came with a choice, dofollow/nofollow. Then when you set up your blog you could choose, rather than having to go find a plugin that turns the comments into do follow. It can be very confusing for people who are just starting out.

  75. 0 Down Home Buyers says:

    It would be impossible to promote our websites if everyone used no follow attributes.

  76. Dougal says:

    “It would be impossible to promote our websites if everyone used no follow attributes.”

    No it wouldn’t. There are plenty of ways to “promote” your website. But spamming your links into blogs like mine is not the way. I have no obligation to host your link. I will do so at my discretion and at my whim.

    If someone posts a link in their comment that I don’t like, for whatever reason, I have no qualms about deleting the comment, flagging it as spam, or simply leaving the content of the comment, but deleting the link, as I’ve done to you.

    My blog. My rules. As arbitrary as I care to make them. Nyah.

    Anyhow, if you want to “promote” a commercial site, there are plenty of options. One obvious one would be to buy some links from an ad service like Google AdWords, Text Link Ads, or any number of other ad networks. If your site is non-commercial, then simply participating in relevant community site discussions in an intelligent, non-spammy way will generally do the trick.

    I don’t come to your house and spraypaint my company’s logo on your wall, do I?

  77. taukey says:

    thanks for the complete history lesson. I am a noob blogger. Learn new things everyday. hehehehe. i just change my blog to a do follow as well. and at the moment i dont get any spam yet and hopefully my spam karma can cathch it. hehe. thanks

  78. Thanks for the do follow stuff. I have changed my blog to a do follow blog from a no follow blog. I am getting a little more comments and I am starting to get more spam comments, but at least it gets caught in my spam catcher. :D

  79. Tim says:

    I do think you might want to check out the “Nofollow Case by Case” Plugin for WordPress. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nofollow-case-by-case/

  80. That two day plugin seems like a pretty good compromise – you can still have dofollow, but it gives you a couple days to get rid of spam before they’re likely to get anything out of it…

  81. Symbian says:

    Some blog authors prefer 7-days nofollow period.

  82. rachael says:

    I think the dofollow is important. If somebody has something worthwhile to say about your product or article to help promote it then I think people should be rewarded with a link back.

    I think the moderators should approve all the comments before they are added to a site. Then they can manually check for spam and approve the comments as well as read the comments that people have added.

  83. I have to look into this plugin as my blog is still fairly new. Thanks for letting us know though, I never knew. What a great way to encourage conversations.

    Namaste

    -ohm

  84. Thai SEO says:

    Real interesting article. I learn many from your blog, Askimet and Spam Karma help me from many spam.

  85. irondele says:

    My experiense says me that “nofollow” tag dosnt really stop spammers, but it stops sometimes normal commentors. So, it’s better to “dofollow”.

  86. muthu says:

    Its really true that nofollow link will not work properly.I decided not to use and have to remove no follow in use.
    ——————
    muthu

    Social Bookmarking

  87. tapety says:

    thanks for the information.
    it is of little use to me, nevertheless, it's good to know new stuff ;]

  88. camellia says:

    i Still use no follow just to reduce spamming eventhough i use akismet too.

  89. I was in search of this and even started a thread on DP. Now I got it and did my blog do follow!! yeah it is just removing no follow. Thanks for the valuable information.

  90. I run a blog myself… and it’s crazy, it’s not that popular (yet :D) but I do have loads of spammers… How do they even reach my site?

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