'rel="nofollow"' WILL NOT Stop Comment Spam

I've seen a lot of posts in the last 24 hours about Google's new rel="nofollow" attribute on hyperlinks. Both Neowin and Google claim that this method will stop comment spam. I cannot stress enough that this viewpoint is absolutely incorrect. An attribute will not stop comment spammers at all. The only thing that the attribute does is stop the Google indexer from adding google-juice to the link. That's it. The link is still there for the users on the site itself, and if you run a .Text blog, you'll still get bombarded with e-mails every time a new comment is posted.

The best bet is to put in a multi-factor comment-spam protection solution that stops comment spam before it ever gets posted. A combination of a good CAPTCHA tool, and comment spam verification from CommentSpam.org is an excellent deterrent.

All rel="nofollow" will do is let Scoble link to people without increasing their Google ranking.


  • You're correct of course, but in my mind this approach was definitely needed because it will hopefully eliminate the entire *reason* to spam blogs in the first place. Treating the source of the disease instead of the symptom, as it were.

  • "You're correct of course, but in my mind this approach was definitely needed because it will hopefully eliminate the entire *reason* to spam blogs in the first place. Treating the source of the disease instead of the symptom, as it were."

    Yes indeed. It strikes me that Mr. McLaws is completely missing the bigger picture.

  • Comment spam is an attack on the way google calculates its results. I could care less whether a spammer gets high search listings on google, I just don't want the spam on my site. How long would it take googlemsnyahoo to just delist the known spammers? They already block sites for less. The rel="nofollow" approach is poor at best. 99% of comments to blogs are relevent. I don't mean relevent as in good, just non malicious, and should probably be taken into account with pagerankings.

    Heres what they are saying:

    "Our ranking system is easy to take advantage of. Because of us, your blog is being inundated with junk. We don't want to fix our pagerankings, but as we would like to continue making money, please make it easy for us to continue doing business as usual."

  • Also, it doesn't solve the problem of comment spam that is already posted on the site. And it won't stop the spam on blog engines that do not have the new system in place. SO right now it does zilch.

  • Jeff, that's a really nice idea, but Google is full of themselves if they think that search engine rankings are the only reason Comment Spam exists. It also exists to trick people into clicking on links to go to the site.

    I see the much bigger picture, thank you very much. Comment spam doesn't just jam up search engines. It ruins communities and wastes people's time cleaning it up. The way to stop comment spam is to add content-based validation and bot prevention, not just making it index-proof.

    BTW, the services at CommentSpam.org are working now. Sorry, I restored a site backup and forgot to enable the script maps in IIS.

  • let's be accurate...google is not claiming it will *block* comment spam they state:

    "those links won't get any credit when we rank websites in our search results"

    it's basically a deterrant for those who do.

  • I hate to be argumentative, but the title of the GoogleBlog post says "Preventing comment spam". Google is the one inaccurately representing the feature. I'm just pointing it out.

  • It's just one piece of the puzzle, and it won't solve the spam problem on it's own, that's for sure. But combined with a CAPTCHA, comment moderation and other methods, hopefully the problem can be alleviated somewhat. I'm not sure that anyone actually believes there is any one particular method that can solve the problem outright.

  • Right, it is just one piece of the puzzle. Plus we needed a way to link without sending Google Juice for a long time.

  • So Robert... why did Google and everyone else make it sound like it was the end-all-be-all solution?

  • Robert,

    Since Google has titled the press release with, "Preventing comment spam", tells us that they believe it will. The fact is spammers will continue to post junk regardless. What this will do is make it much easier for search engines to index relevant content. Which I feel is a good thing.

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