Some comments on comments

Some comments on comments One of my new year's resolutions has to spend more time trolling forums and blogs. To interact more, learn some new tricks and (ahem) build some comment and signature links.

Many blogs use nofollow to prevent spam, but we all know this doesn't work. This has never stopped me from commenting on blogs, I still enjoy the random bits of traffic you get from posting an intelligent comment on a good article.

Anyway, on my travels today, I found some interesting things about how nofollow is used.


Firstly, V7N mentioning that people have been nofollowing ReviewMe reviews. If I was paying someone $40 - $250 for a product review, you can be pretty sure I'll be expecting link juice for that investment. ReviewMe allows you to post a negative review, which is fine. But only an asshole would accept payment for a review and then nofollow the link. That's just plain dirty.
Unfortunately, it seems some people think this is a good idea.

Blog comments

Most blogs now use nofollow on the links to allegedly prevent spam. My experience is that nofollow does nothing to prevent spam, but CAPTCHAs are still surprisingly effective. Because I'm a nice guy, my CAPTCHAs are only 3 characters and aren't case sensitive. Side Note - if your CAPTCHA is case sensitive, this is really really annoying!
Once spammers start brute forcing my CAPTCHAs, I'll make them longer or more complex, but it seems to work fine for now.

So assuming we can prevent automated spam, the next spam is mindless comments offering no substantial contribution. A human visitor posts "Great article well done" and expects a link for it. I call this spam too.

Login to post a comment

Plenty of blogs require registration and login before you can post a comment. This is fine for forums, but it seems like a lot of work to do just to post a comment. I won't usually bother setting up an account just to post a comment - hell, I've sometimes dropped a shopping cart and gone elsewhere because I can't be bothered registering.

Jim Boykin has the right attitude

I think this post pretty well echoes my thoughts.

Basically, a useful comment adds to your unique site content. This is a very good thing. It doesn't seem unreasonable to offer some link juice in exchange for a bit of site content, and the feel-good community it creates.

Jim mentions somewhere that if a comment is good enough to appear on your site, it's good enough to have some link juice. This I tent to agree with, however I don't think I would want to send link juice to a mesothelioma site, even if the comment was useful.

Admin approval

A workable answer lies in admin approval. I think most blogs have some sort of manual approval system anyway, to weed out the crappy comments that have no place on the site. As part of this process, surely a decision can be made whether to delete the comment, allow the comment with a nofollow link, or allow the comment with a proper link.

Wordpress to blame?

I wrote my own blog software, so I'm in charge of my own destiny. If something breaks, it's my fault. On the other hand, I get to program the functionality of my comment system to work however I want it to work. Or as well as I can be bothered programming it to work.

Most blogs run Wordpress, and I wonder if people are nofollowing comments because it's the default, or it's not easy to change. This isn't a pick at Wordpress, rather saying that most bloggers aren't programmers or techies, and changing the default behaviour is just too hard.


Because I'm such a nice guy, I have decided to implement the above in my commenting system. If you leave a comment, it will go live straight away with rel=nofollow. I'll get an email and I'll either delete your comment, leave it nofollowed, or if I think it's useful I'll remove the nofollow from the link and give it some juice.

Sound fair? Anyone got any comments on my comments about comments?
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Tags: bloggingcommentsnofollowblogging comments nofollow