The Null Device

rel="nofollow"

Google have developed a solution for stopping comment spam, or, more precisely, for denying spammers any search engine-related benefits from getting their URLs all over blogs, guestbooks and bulletin boards. From now on, any links on a web page with the rel="nofollow" attribute will be ignored by search engines. This has broad support; on the search engine side, Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search are heeding this tag, and various blogging tool providers, including SixApart, LiveJournal, Blogger and WordPress, have added automatic support of this link to their comment/trackback mechanisms. (As, of today, has this blog.)

Which seems like a pretty elegant solution; rather than shutting down comments or removing functionality (such as the ability of commenters to include links to their sites or relevant pages or otherwise leverage the hypertextual nature of the web), marking the links as not endorsed by the site, and to be ignored by participating search engines (which should soon be all of them, given that it's an excellent indicator of potential link relevance, and not heeding it can impair the relevance of the engine's results).

There are 4 comments on "rel="nofollow"":

Posted by: Matt Cutts http://www.google.com Wed Jan 19 23:30:05 2005

Hey, check out my cool search engine!

http://www.google.com

-- Matt Cutts, Google Software Engineer

Posted by: Arthur http:// Thu Jan 20 00:04:46 2005

<em>-- Matt Cutts, Google Software Engineer</em>

This is a joke, no?

Posted by: Monde http://involution.org Thu Jan 20 07:55:47 2005

<i>or otherwise leverage the hypertextual nature of the web</i>

I was just passing through your blog after doing a search for info on Linux and VST plugins for music software, and found an '02 entry about it that led me where I needed to go--thanks!

Noticing your URL and thinking this site has to have been one of the first websites in existence, like ever, I was curious about the blog, came looked at the front page, liked the place.

I have to note that in the abovelyquoted text you Used one (1) Inane Corporate Marketroid Bizzy-Buzzword, namely, <i>leveraged</i>, and thus get six (6) whacks of the <b>Improper Verbing Halibut. </b>

It's not that I'm a Grammar Fairy, or one of those people whose verbs aren't ever made to be things and whose nouns are never nouning: all the contrary, I am a huge Jack Womack fan, and thus I tend to write, sometimes even (God help me) actually speak that way - way too much, even.

It's just that some total moron must have invented this particular use of the idea of w

Posted by: Usama http:// Thu Jan 20 23:24:42 2005

Thank heavens that this wasn't around when I put the looksmart Inside The Web message boards out of business by posting porn all over all the religious discussion boards!

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