You know how it is when you’ve built a stable eco-system. Think about your aquarium when you were a kid or some artificial environment at the zoo housing multiple creatures in harmony. Everything works right because every player knows where they stand in the hierarchy and respects it. The catfish eats the algae, and hopefully the Angelfish gets fed on time and he leaves the catfish alone.
The major search engines, Google, Yahoo, and MSN thought they had it all figured out – and that they could tell day to day, who was standing where on the food chain. But something happened. Something called a blog.
Whereas most user-pages used to be single page profiles on Xoom and Geocities, but suddenly people with little to no HTML or PHP knowledge were cranking out several dozen SEO-optimized posts a week. Users would leave comments and links and trackbacks were deep-linking to niche-specific articles with open discussion and … well … Google thinks thats a bad thing. Personally, I love the concept of blogs – more accurately, the concept of content management systems optimized for perpetuating links, creating discussions, and providing information on ever increasingly specific niche fields.
Anyway, Google dreamed up this “no_follow” attribute for the HTML markup of a hyper-link. They promised it would save us from spam for once and for all, as if a few dozen characters of code could stop the human nature that drives people to compete.