A Rant about the Link Economy
Sitepoint has an interesting article about Whether or Not Blogging is Dead – and they conclude basically that it isn’t, but the “link economy” is probably messed up.
To help reinforce their point, I won’t be linking to them in this blog post. Why? Because their blog has essentially disabled links in comments and pings.
Am I being selfish? Are they?
Part of blogging is participating on other peoples’ blogs and creating a literal network of contributors held together with convenient links. Heck, this is probably why Sitepoint’s forum is so busy, active, and worthy of linking to.
Its not just Sitepoint’s blog, its a lot of places these days. The guys who are the problem are the ones that use automated scripts to plaster dozens of links to unrelated topics in questionable business sectors.
Nofollow obviously doesn’t stop spammers from leaving links. So, in the eternal quest to avoid the simple blogging duty of comment moderation and visitor-author interaction, a lot of blogs are just simply getting rid of the comment link altogether.
I guess they figure so long as there is no URL attached, they will never have to look through their comments again. So wait, why are they running a blog? Is what they are running even really a blog? The definition of that Blog word is up for considerable debate, and if comment links aren’t missing an essential component of blogging, they’re at least losing out on one of the biggest strengths that the platform can offer.
Listen, comment links aren’t even just for other webmasters or people who work for websites. Anyone can find and contribute a link to a valuable resource they come across. If these links and comments they leave are valid, they should be manually approved and added to the democratic web of the internet. I shudder when I see links to government websites automatically “nofollowed” as if some software in its infinite wisdom decides that the Census Report isn’t a valid authority that the search engines should value. I hate to imagine how many times people have posted “too many links” to such authoritative sources and had their comments sent to the Akismet bin of doom.
The calculus of internet democracy is actually pretty simple. Yes, authors who contribute more comments on other blogs, who get more articles published to directories and newspapers, and who submit popular links to social bookmarking sites should get a little extra link weight to their websites because they’re obviously active and contributing to the democratic-digital debate.
People have tried to overcalculate this easy formula, they’ve tried to hoard their linking power (as if that was something they could actually do). There’s no shortage of capital in the link economy, the problem is that no one is sharing because everyone is afraid to actually do the editorial work that goes along with publishing a blog!
So I’ve got my money where my mouth is – any comment you can get past my moderation is completely dofollow. Attention to all blogs that don’t allow comment links: I won’t be linking to you here, on my other two blogs, on any of my bookmarking sites, or on any of the blogs or bookmarking sites or forums that I visit.
To the rest of you dofollow webmasters, I’m looking for ya and linking for ya. Keep making the quality content and I’ll do my little part with visibility.