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.
Going 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?