Six Apart has announced what Dave Winer only hinted about and we’ve been expecting — Google and the other search companies have partnered with the weblogging companies to come out with the use of rel=”nofollow”, as a way of dealing with comment spam.
When added to the weblog template for links, this instructs the search bots not to include the links within page ranking. The point being that once the spammers realize that their effort is futile, they’ll go away, like the professional business people we all know they are.
This might have worked…three years ago when we the webloggers called out for Google to help. At the time that comment spam started to become a problem, one of the suggestions was for Google to get involved and come up with a way to mark links so that they have no value for the Google webbot.
Now, all these years later, we read the following at Six Apart:
Recently, we’ve reached out to other blog tool vendors to try to coordinate information about comment spam techniques and behaviors. As part of these efforts, we’ve also begun to talk to search companies about enriching linking semantics to better indicate visitor-submitted content (like comments or TrackBacks).
Others are jumping up and down about this now, such as Scoble. I’m not quite jumping up and down. But I’ll add it to my template, and hope for the best.
If you do implement this, you need to implement it not only in your comment listing but also in the sidebar ‘recent comments’ plugin or code that you’re using. Your legitimate commenters or trackbacks won’t get any link rank for their entries, but I imagine people are so desperate they don’t care anymore.
WordPress is going to have to change its comment policy to automatically create hypertext links for internal links. Otherwise spammers will just include links within the comment itself.