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The End of the Line for Comment Spam?

Date:  Thu, 20th-Jan-2005prevnext

Tags: Commentary, Spam, Website Development

I'm really pleased to see Google et al get behind the rel="nofollow" attribute as was recently announced, but I doubt that even widespread deployment will end the comment spam problem.

Removing the benefits of inbound links from web-pages with high PageRank will hurt the spammers, but there are other reasons why they will continue to target comment systems, referrer logs, trackbacks, guestbooks, forums, etc.

The most obvious ones are:

  • Eyeballs: Saturating websites with links will still yield a percentage of click-throughs, just as it does with email spam;
  • Unpatched Websites: There will always be blogs and wikis, guestbooks and forums that aren't using the new attribute.

I'll reiterate what I wrote above, it's great that the mighty Google has gone on the offensive. But I think the solution is ill-conceived. I'd anticipate an increase rather than a reduction in comment spam as the spammers go for eyeball exposure instead of PageRank.

We may have won a battle, but we haven't won the war.

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