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news and thoughts on and around the development of the iCite net
by Jay Fienberg

Comment spam rules / I pity the fools!

posted: Jan 18, 2005 9:27:18 PM

I don't know about you, but I get a couple hundred comment spams per day. If I thought that the new rel="nofollow" scheme cooked up by some PR(?) folks in relation to Google (good info about this on this Webmaster World thread, and press releases by Google, Six Apart, MSN Search, Yahoo!, and Dave Winer) somehow were to stop this spam, I'd maybe not rant as follows.

Since I already 100% moderate all of the comments on this blog, the spam is never shown, the links never get picked up by Google, and Google's algorithms which would filter them out anyway never get to do their thing, I don't see comment spammers losing much of their incentive to spam my blog.

In my case, comment spammers already have what any otherwise-employed person would consider zero incentive. But said spammers obviously live by the motto that it never hurts to try and try again a hundred gazillion times.

Anyway, my Spammer's Choice view of this blog (explained more here) is my own, personal, cathartic-ritual approach to burning up this spam.

I'm not one to write something off before it has it's chance (and I hate being anything like a nay-sayer), but my initial reaction to rel="nofollow" is that it's basically a way to convert our frustration with comment spam into a negative feature of the web (e.g., get back at comment spammers or anyone you don't want to be nice to with our new passive-aggressive, f*ck you link).

So, because I believe in the link—the link is what made the web, made blogs, made RSS, made search engines, etc., I have no plans to use rel="nofollow" on my blogs. And, while the iCite net HTML stuff will let you use it (because various components support rel tags in general), it may be difficult for me to recognize this as a real feature that folks might want to hear more about.

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Comments and Tracbacks

Comment by: David Czarnecki ·
posted: Jan 18, 2005 9:37:27 PM

I'll be adding support for rel="nofollow" shortly as indicated here.

At the very least, this should render comment and trackback spam ineffective for those blogs not employing moderation techniques.

Comment by: Jay Fienberg ·
posted: Jan 18, 2005 10:03:56 PM

(prologue: I hate to be nay-sayer and negative about this. And, David, congratulations for being part of this cooperative effort: the cooperation was a good thing, and I'm glad you were part of it.)

David, the link you placed in your comment is important to this post, and I want to emphasize that rather than hide it (and, along these lines, I have some visual design changes and other features planned for my site too).

If I have to moderate between good links and bad links, I might as well moderate the whole comment (it's also a less manipulative approach).

Moderation is what I have to do to deal with comment spam. I love how blojsom gives me so many ways to moderate. But, I don't see this new rel tag as being anywhere as important as these features you've already included in blojsom.

trackback from: the iCite net development blog
posted: Jan 19, 2005 3:19:57 PM
title: More on passive aggressive linking with nofollow

Following on my last post, Comment spam rules / I pity the fools!, I notice that Robert Scoble and Tim Bray are already suggesting uses for rel="nofollow" links that have nothing to do with comment spam.

Note: All comments and trackbacks are moderated. Spam is deleted. Other comments are approved as promptly as possible.

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