Four Years Later – Nofollow has not Stopped Spam

Its been almost four years since Google announced the nofollow agenda (this link is nofollowed according to the principles of nofollow reciprocity)

Is the spam gone yet?

Of course you know I’m joking. Spam is as bad as its ever been, its probably even worse because comment moderation has become incredibly lazy

Nofollow Only Benefits Google

It doesn’t really benefit the human readers of a blog, and it definitely doesn’t help people who contribute thoughtful, valuable content to another person’s website. Human readers likely don’t know if a link is “nofollowed,” and it probably wouldn’t make them feel any better if you explained that all the spam in your comments is no good for SEO.

Nofollow is Lazy

There’s no way around this one. Look at the Google blog, they are basically saying “This attribute will let you leave all those pharmacy ads on your website!”

Gee, thanks! That seems like such a better solution than clearing spam trash off of a site.

Nofollow on Sources is SE Plagiarism

I’m looking at you Wikipedia. I Googled a topic and read a Wiki page the other day but it was pretty incomplete and brief. I decided to check out the sources to learn more about the topic and I was shocked with what I found: The Wikipedia entry only cited one single source! The entire entry was based on the work of a pre-existing website and thanks to the thieving magic of nofollow, Wikipedia outranks the site that they are essentially stealing content from

If you’re using nofollow on your outbound links or the crowd-sourced parts of your content, don’t expect me to link at you unless its an attempt to make you look foolish. Even then, I’ll be sure to add nofollow to the link and even do my best to outrank you for those keywords we’re talking about.

In short, the internet isn’t going to work like this, where everyone wants to take and everyone is too selfish to give.

I know where Youtube and Wikipedia and CNN are, I don’t need a search engine to find these domains. The internet is starting to look really shallow, with fewer and fewer destinations grabbing a larger share of the traffic. Most of these destinations rely on crowd-sourced content and they can’t be bothered to share the links that make the economy work.

I’m not anywhere close to done with this topic, but the rant provided here should help me vent enough to get through the rest of my day.


  1. hey John,
    You took the words right out of my mouth with your rant. Ditto here. No follow is not the answer to spam. I do follow. And I agree with you about seeing wiki everywhere. I use wiki regularly and know where to find them. I’d rather see the other results.
    Steve, aka the fellow-ranter trade show guru
    PS. Good rant!

  2. Yeah, I needed that rant as some domains just “unsourced” tens of thousands of words I’ve written by nofollowing the attribution/identification links. Feeling a lot less frustrated though, there’s still a big internet out there with people willing to trade real links for real content 🙂

    Traffic up, traffic down, just means its time to work on making the traffic go up again! As long as each cycle results in better positioning than the last one, the trend stays up.

  3. Hey John.. I agree with you that nofollow is no answer to spam but it works a bit too. I know several web directory owners they they just approve some spam web sites because if they reject those web sites, they will be submitted again again by the spam bots. So the directory owners simply approve those spam sites but add nofollow. And they are relived from seeing those sites again and again in their control panel ! Smart ?! Aren’t they ? 🙂

  4. There are some benefits to nofollow but I think installing something like Akismet on your blog is far more effective in deterring spammers. I think the main issue right now is that popular websites that rely on crowdsourcing such as Wikipedia are too greedy to remove the nofollows from their content, which means their sources/references rank lower than Wikipedia’s articles, which are often verbatim copies of the original source–which you will notice if the original source is actually cited.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Nofollow does not Conserve Pagerank
  2. Digg Goes Nofollow – Keeps Pushing Framed URLs
  3. Blogging is dead – long live blogging!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.