A year and a half ago, i wrote a long post explaining why nofollow would not work, so it’s no great surprise to be proved right. This hasn’t just happened, it’s not suddenly stopped working: It never worked, and has only had the predicted detrimental effect on the web and the way we link.
Jeremy, a top bod in Yahoo! Search, who also supported this ludicrous idea, points to this post that lays the blame solidly at Google’s door. Im pretty sure I said so at the time, but if not, let me repeat my thoughts here: NoFollow was a “this will shut them up”, ill thought out, knee-jerk bandaid hurredly implemented to get bloggers and blog vendors off of Google/Yahoo’s back.
It could never work. As dylan points out, the economics of blog spam are that it is CHEAP to spam comments, and spammers don’t care if some of their efforts are in vain because it costs virtually nothing.
Since its enthusiastic adoption a year and a half ago, by Google, Six Apart, WordPress, and of course the eminent Dave Winer, I think we can all agree that nofollow has done â€¦ nothing. Comment spam? Thicker than ever. Itâ€™s had absolutely no effect on the volume of spam. Thatâ€™s probably because comment spammers donâ€™t give a crap, because the marginal cost of spamming is so low.
Jeremy actually has the best advice I’ve seen regarding linking, particularly in the context of nofollow from a Search rep:
Look. Linking is part of what makes the web work. If you’re actually concerned about every link you make being counted in some global database of site endorsements, you’re probably over-thinking just a bit. Life’s too short for that, ya know? Link and be linked to. Let the search engines sort it out.
Really, that’s a breath of fresh air.
Google, and Yahoo, Knew this Wouldn’t Work
Remember I called this a bandaid? More precisely it was a PR bandaid, hastily slapped on during a crisis when no real answers were forthcoming (not ones that would be popular anyway). I find it impossible to believe that Search reps like Google’s Matt Cutts, NoFollows most ardent supporter, and Yahoo’s Jeremy Zawodny really believed this would work.
When Search pundits like Danny Sullivan point out that it’s a non solution, aswell as a host of other Search bloggers (some of whom are linked from this thread), why is it that GOOG/YHOO were the only ones who couldn’t see it?
Note that the people saying this wouldn’t work are as enthusiastic, and as knowlegable about Search as most Search reps.
The only people that believed this was a solution other than the engines, (who as i’ve said, were only paying lip service) were a bunch of folks who didn’t understand Search or the economics of blog spam.
Can we have some real debate on solutions now? Is it time yet? Or do we need to hear a few more fairy tales first?
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