I just read a semi-funny post from John Marshall at Talking Points Memo, from a couple days ago. TPM received a request from a prolific comment spammer to remove their comment spam from the site. Apparently the spammer has been having some, er, troubles with Google.
If you feel like you must go read it (it contains no important information), then turn on Flashblock first, unless you like being tracked: Talking Points Memo: Chutzpam
The reason why I say this post is “semi-funny” is because user-generated spam is a serious problem. In this case, the spam is creating a problem for the spammers, and that *is* funny, but the spammers aren’t always the ones taking the biggest hit.
DoFollow Penalties? Yep… count on it.
I am working multiple cases where sites are *explicitly* told by Google that they are being penalized for spam that has been generated by *users* on their sites.
2 cases involving profile spam, and 1 case involving comment spam. In all 3 cases, the links were not “nofollowed.” The profile spam cases are a simple matter of the site owners not putting a priority on implementing nofollow – in the comment spam case, it’s one of those “dofollow” blogs.
You know – DoFollow blogs. The ones that, against all common sense, don’t use nofollow in their comment section. The ones that, well… did you know that spammers buy lists of dofollow blogs, just like they used to buy CDs and DVDs full of email addresses? There are even custom-made lists ready made to import into different spamming tools.
While the DoFollow “movement” was cute and stuff, it’s never seemed like a terribly good idea, from any perspective:
- “DoFollow” and every other variant that allows followed links in user-generated content is an invitation to spammers.
- If you actually want all the extra moderation that goes with that (most dofollow blogs seem not to bother at all), spammers know how to game that too.
- A lot of the people encouraging “dofollow” were comment spammers – certainly not all of them, but as them Romans used to say, “cui bono?”
- And now you can get penalized for allowing user generated spam – at least when that spam comes with followed links.
If you’ve somehow gotten sucked into the dofollow “cause,” I’m not going to tell you what to do here. Just understand that the potential cost to your site is a lot more than you may have believed.
Are you striking a blow for free speech, or against the tyranny of Google? Maybe… so how’s that working out? It might be more effective to go pitch a tent on their lawn or something.