You Comment I Follow

For a long time now, I’ve taken off the default “no-follow” attribute from my comments, a feature that was implemented by WordPress per Google’s creation of it in order to decrease spammers getting backlinks from search engines. I think that at the end of it, comment spammers don’t really care whether they have their backlinks or not, it’s a matter of amount rather than quality of the links.

Given that I’m being comment spammed with and without the “no-follow” attribute, it makes sense to just keep it anyway. After all, I do maintain a pretty mean comment policy that has spammers out of the loop. Since my spam filters (both Bad Behavior and Akismet) have been effective so far in dealing with the bulk of spammers out there, I’d thought that every valid commenter deserves a little link-love to their blog in the first place.

Which brings me to the small matter of people doing whatever it takes to exploit the need for valid backlinks. The old matter of John Chow comes to mind, by him charging 10 bucks a month to have the no-follow removed from your comments. Considering the scope of his blog at the time this was announce, I thought it was the most devilish and ingenious plan ever concocted as a business. It’s simple, yet with the amount of real people who desperately want those backlinks, criticism for being Satan’s spawn aside, it’s still a great plan.

Fortunately enough, I don’t subscribe to this idea. Being that blogs are all about the connection between the blogger and the reader. The whole “it’s not personal, it’s just good business” idea hugely diminishes the very concept of blogging. But that’s as well, to monetize your blog is to turn your blog into a business. While is a part of the American dream to rip people off when they aren’t looking, there is still that broad line between empathizing your readers and caring about them for as long as they make you money.

U Comment I FollowGoing back to me removing my “no-follow”, since other people have done it as well, there has been a movement to stop using the attribute. Since I use it no more, I guess I’m part of that movement. People’s comments are worth more than just a couple of bucks as such they shouldn’t be charged for it or penalized because people are too lazy to implement good spam filters on their blog.

Your reader’s comments are what gives life to a blog. They reflect not just popularity or infamy, but a sense of connection you have with your readers. It reflects your blog as a whole and in the world where that reflection is everything, it can mean a lot to have people take notice for what you wrote about.

So to me, removing the “no-follow” is the least I can do to let the world know what your comments mean to me. I do my best to follow through with your comments and I like to think of you as a friend rather than just some random person that commented because they like what they read. But hey, if it’s business you want, this blog has always been high up the Page Rank charts, I’m no John Chow but I’m sure I can figure out what I can do with it if I really put my mind to it.

Ooops, look who’s the Satan’s spawn now?

25 thoughts on “You Comment I Follow

  1. Commendable move! How about writing a Beginner’s Step-by-Step Guide to remove the “No Follow” attribute? Not all bloggers are programmers and this would be handy 😉

  2. I agree with your sentiments as I believe in “do-follow” as a small thank you for genuine readers and commentors.

    Spammers will spam regardless. I use SK2 and Bad Behaviour and it’s working out pretty well that I’m not even fazed by reports that there is a new paid-comments service out there. Because I’ve got a handle on “normal” spam coming through, I should be able to spot the paid comments coming through as well.

    As for tools/plugins to do this, there’s a good list done by Andy Beard a while back:
    Ultimate List of NoFollow & DoFollow Plugins

  3. Perhaps I should adopt this measure as well. I’m pretty much against the search engine companies becoming self-proclaimed link police.

  4. Sometimes I do wonder whether one day Google will deal with this “U Comment, I Follow” campaign. As for John Chow, he is being punished by Google. No longer he is listed at the top of SERP for his name.

  5. Pablopabla: If you’re running WordPress, the link that Mooiness gave is good enough. Just activate the plugins and you’re good to go.

    Mooiness: Thanks for the link. In retrospect I would have written it down anyway, but that save me the trouble for it. The last time I used SK2 and BB together, they were issues that allowed spam to go in. I didn’t like the fact that SK2 kept giving my false positives because I had so much spam, all the legitimate comments were filtered as well. That’s why I use Akismet now. Same system, just a much wider control base.

    Azmeen: Well you can do it for that reason. I just like the fact that commenters get their love back as well.

    Kuanhoong: They won’t, it’s just their contribution to remove spam without knowing what spammers are really after. At the end of it, it doesn’t really hurt us. By us, I mean people that don’t really care about how many backlinks you get. The only people that make this matter to them are the people that worry about such things. I just do it for a completely different reason.

    ChickyBabe: It’s a webhost thing. Open comments are vulnerable to comment spam. Worse yet is that I have a pretty well indexed blog so spammers can find me easily. Blogger has their captcha system and moderation and that defeats it most of the time, but I don’t like the captcha because it’s just makes commenting troublesome.

  6. @Kuanhoong: releasing nofollow from our comment page is a kind “of respect to our reader. I don’t think google will take it serious and counter attack us….

  7. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing but even though it encourange many readers to post comments, it also encourage people to post useless comments. E.g a funny post, the reader could just type 1 word and spam other post too with their useless comments.

  8. Mr. Simplicity: Then you have a choice to delete those comments and ban the visitor. More the reason why every blog should have a comment policy. After all, wouldn’t that be considered spam in the first place?

  9. Thanks for posting this information. I’ve been seeing the terminology around for a while but haven’t found all the pieces together in one read yet. It was very helpful and explained a lot.

  10. I guess it’s a question of balance between how bad it is and how much time you are willing to spend fighting it. If your site doesn’t have too many visitors/comments then you can handle spam comments manually. I just do a weekly “ride” deleting spamming comments and it takes a minutes because I don’t have many of them. Once site becomes popular you can’t handle it all manually. There are few WP add-on that I believe can help with it but I don’t use any because my blog is not on WP platform.

  11. Hi,

    Everybody loves links. Even the google bot, but it dies not like non- genuine links.

    For instance, some time ago, google had a controversy over following paid links.

    Now for a spider or a crawler to identify the paid links from non-paid is almost impossible.

    But in most CMS , including wordpress and blogspot, it is very easy to identify comments from content.

    do – follow may go void, if google thinks so.

    But still, it does good in the short term..

  12. I agree, comments give life to a blog. As a fellow blogger put it, “comments are blogger crack.”

    Thanks for supporting the movement.

  13. that’s what blog all about. blog is kind of a person’s journal. journal is usually private but in this case blog’s owner share it with others. people appreciate blog’s owners sharing so they take time to comment. these comments bring values to blog post but when there is nofollow tag blog owners are denying the value these comments brought to their blogs.

  14. I already have the tag removed from my blogs. I’m going to start displaying the logo as well. I don’t believe that the tag is much use at preventing spamming.

  15. Hi
    I wanted to join the “You Comment I Follow” community but anyone knows how to remove No Follow attribute from comments on blogger Classical Templates

  16. Apart from dofollow I also use commentluv to reward those who grace my blog with a comment. After all, the more comments we can inspire the more alive our blogs become.

  17. Wow John was charging to remove the no follow links to your comments… I think that is hurting him more than helping him… The whole idea of a blog is to interact with each other through discussions.

    It was stupid of Google to remove the dofollow on comments, the purpose was to prevent spam… tell that to my overworked Askimet plugin…

    People are waking up to the do follow movement, in fact I took it off my blog a long time ago, but not all of my blogs yet, will make that a #1 priority.

  18. Glad to have another dofollow blog to visit!:-

    Your blog is already doing so well so this would be more of a “thank you” to your readers, I guess.

  19. I’ve seen in the last year (mostly) a big do-follow movement of bloggers, who prefer to offer something in exchange for the people spend their time and read / comment on their blogs.
    Some bloggers who switched to do-follow blogs also declared that they noticed a nice increase of visitors and comments. Also, a big increase of spammers, but that’s another story.

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