For some odd reason this site has a high PageRank. I don’t know why. My high PageRank attracts spammers trying to increase their search engine ranks. To combat this problem a consortium of search engines have begun the rel=“nofollow” initiative. It’s a code change (on the user’s site) that stops search engine spiders from following comment links that are inflating the PageRanks of linked-to sites. It’s a change that website owners make to their code to help search engines provide more relevant results. I’ve implemented the change here on studio2f. However, there’s something that just rubs me the wrong way about the whole concept.
The explosion of blogs, comments and trackbacks have directly affected the PageRank algorithms the search engines use to rank sites. Is that the blogsphere’s problem or a sign that the original PageRank implementation was not developed with the ability to evolve as the internet landscape transforms? Every time a new challenge arises to PR will the search engines push for the users to alter their sites and code to prop up PageRank? Today the problem is bloggers and their comments— tomorrow it’s some sort of interactive-multimedia space car we’re all driving. Who knows. Uses for the internet continue to expand.
Most of us favor the results and PR from Google over Yahoo- or gasp! Carnegie Mellon’s Lycos… because their results suck. In a couple of years we’ll adore a new search engine with a new means of calculating PR that generates better results than Google. That’s evolution- and it happens on the corporation’s side not the end users.
I aggressively defend my entries from spammers with Jay Allen’s outstanding MT-Blacklist and Brad Choate’s MT-DSBL. I know that every link in my comments is a legitimate link supporting the user’s comment. It’s a constant war… with regular spam attacks daily, I don’t believe rel=“nofollow” is going to stop them. As the spammer’s PRs start to decline they’ll adapt. They always do. They’re like cockroaches.
They’ll still score the top search engine result positions— while cleaning up the search engines will happen at the expense of the little sites (not the big ones like boinboing). Small legitimate (not spam) blogs will drop off the radar as their PRs disappear.
This probably won’t be a popular statement: but the idea that “thinking about PageRank” is evil, and instead you should be creating great content to build yourself into a boingboing is a hollow argument. There’s room for both. Boingboing became what it is today partly because a zillion people linked to it.
I believe this solution is a band-aid to the problem that the search engines have: they need to generate legitimate results. rel=“nofollow” is not the cure— the problem will continue. PR will still be exploited and results will still be tainted. The search engines have to figure out how to filter the crap internally.
Regardless— I’ve implemented rel=“nofollow” here.