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Hey Google NoFollow this!

Written by David Harry   
Monday, 09 June 2008 09:15


A Monday morning rant

I love Google as much as the next guy or maybe more than most… Not only the search engine and many apps and services I play with, but I also enjoy how the engineers think (Patent hound here ya know)… but the whole link FUD has finally started to irk me.

I have yet to write about the ‘nofollow’ fiasco… today it changes.

Are we simply a gutless bunch of weenies under the spell of the mighty G? Methinks it’s true.

Matt McGee is a guy I enjoy reading and have respected for some time … and still do. BUT this morning I noticed a post of his that was thanking some advertisers and highlighting some of there posts. He not only nofollowed the links to some of their recent posts, but felt he had to state that they were nofollowed. Good lord, is this what we’ve come to?

Eat my shorts

Over the last while I have had guest posters here and recently gave some thanks by not only highlighting their posts, but also showing a little link love for folks to go and read some of their other greatness. Now, while they didn’t pay for those links, nor the ones in their Bio on the posts… one could surmise in the unspoken rules of the game that they in some small measure did barter for them… which could be construed as bad Ju Ju by the fine folks at Google…. Oh I am such a baaaad boy. Shouldn’t all media outlets and article repositories/directories be whacked? We all know it is a veiled method for obtaining links not traffic, right?

I truly felt that the whole nofollow gag was about people that were actually selling text links to peeps for the expressed purpose of manipulating PageRank, or for every link that one worried about getting in trouble for (or for potentially shady neighbourhoods).

I am pretty sure Matt never offered links as part of the advertising package which means he should be free to highlight them as he pleases… but oooooo nooo…. Look out here comes the Google SERP Police, best be careful.

It is a sad statement on the times

It’s a damned funny preposition really if we think about it. At its core Google is a nodal/link based algorithm that depends largely on the links of the web to establish popularity and to a certain degree, value.  Now, what if…. by some strange twist of fate, the majority of the world’s webmasters and site owners decided to Nofollow all of their outbound links in a sort of, ‘better safe than sorry’ manoeuvre?

Can you imagine the mess that would make? He he… I dare say, to a certain degree it would make a helluva mess in the SERPs and ultimately cause them to rethink the ranking processes

…. Bah humbug, bitter and disillusioned on a Monday morning….



0 # DazzlinDonna 2008-06-09 10:52
If I could give karma for this post I would, especially since you used the phrase "gutless bunch of weenies", which so perfectly describes 'dem 'dat run scared.

So, no karma to give, but how about a couple of smileys instead?

:woohoo: :D :evil:
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0 # DebInDenver 2008-06-09 16:16
when you really want to get tough, you can throw out "spineless gutless wonder."
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0 # Dave 2008-06-09 11:14
Lol @DD - sorry, but I just felt nearly violated to see such a repected member of the community needing to go to that length to ensure Google and other bloggers didn't roast him over it... I could see it on Sphinn already -

'Matt McGee sells text links to advertisers'

.... sad times they are... :-x
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0 # Dave 2008-06-09 11:16
oh.... and tnx for the virtual Karma
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0 # Andy Beard 2008-06-09 13:19
The way I would have done it is to robots.txt it, so that all the splogs and people syndicating the content give live links.
Then again, it was just links, no real reader value, and less likely to be picked up by splogs due to lack of content.
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0 # Dave 2008-06-09 13:30
Hey Andy, how goes the contest?

To be honest it was one of those, 'written in 10 minutes' posts from my morning read... It just seems that such disclaimers, more for search engines and whiny bloggers, not the end user, are such a statement of the times.

Nice thinking on the Splogs tho' - but it's not like links pointing TO YOU can hurt right? cough cough....

I am so hopeful for layers beyond PR having strong enough signals to stop the madness.....
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+1 # Matt McGee 2008-06-09 18:09
I actually put that disclaimer in there not for Google's benefit, but to alert any future advertisers that they're not getting free, followed links by advertising on SBS. Just trying to manage customers before they become customers. :-)
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0 # Dave 2008-06-09 18:22
erm... Matt, if it wasn't for Google... then you wouldn't have to state it though - oui? So in a sense it is certainly still for Google. It does make a real statement as to the state of affairs and where we've come to IMO.... just sayin'

So, I hear ya, it just made me a little sad when I noticed it as they were actually legit posts and I have no probs 'voting' for those that support me.... my link vote that is.

It is simply interesting the kettle we are stewing in here 2008.... sigh....
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0 # Patricia Skinner 2008-06-09 22:04
Hi Dave, I loved this article and totally agree with Donna. You deserve a lot of karma, although I don't really think Matt should get bad karma. As you pointed out, Google put us all in this situation. The bad juju is all theirs I think.
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0 # Dave 2008-06-10 08:49
Hi Patricia - tnx for the Karma :woohoo:

I wasn't inferring anything bad towards Matt - merely that it was a glaring statement of the times that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

The lines from a mere tool for protecting oneself when linking out, to the smack down and now near paranoia.

Guilty until proven innocent? Do we need to STATE that links are nofollowed or that we don't sell them? I thought it was about NOT advertising the sale of links for the expressed purpose of SE manipulation?

He never said he was selling text link ADVERTISING for that purpose so how would he be guilty of anything? Instead one must use a pre-emptive approach.... it all was just a little troubling.... is a new day and I am being mellow.... no ranting :whistle:
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0 # graywolf 2008-06-10 08:55
I know lots of people get tired of me picking on the big G but this is why I do it the more people start to see the emperor really has no clothes the better off we all are.
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0 # Dave 2008-06-10 09:11
Yes you certainly are a beacon out there :side:

To be honest, so often it is the band wagon effect that stops me from writing about many things and for the longest time I have said little about this.... it just get's a little thin...

As a patent hound I am very aware of the many ways search engineers attempt to break their addiction to links, so I do have hope for that, it just seems to have gone too far on the FUD end of things.

Like I said, if too large a segment of the web start to pre-empt by nofollowing anything, it would actually damage the PageRank model theoretically....

Between the FUD and PR 'Sculpting' the lines are getting very hazy.... forget updating what a doorway page is, let's get some more clarity on the whole nofollow/paid links gag once and for all....

.... anyways, it is really leaving a bad taste in my mouth and I may not be renewing my 'Google-fan-boy' subscription this year... :Pinch:
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0 # Garrett Pierson 2008-06-10 22:43
Love the rant Dave. This is exactly why rules and changes sometimes mess things up more than help. I think of it all as similar to the free market. If the government (Google in our case) watches every move we make and sets boundaries that restrict, it will cause serious issues, much like we are currently facing in the market now.

I do think although that some boundaries and restrictions are needed for those spamming losers but there becomes a point when it hurts everyone, so screw all those spamming freaks that made this happen in the first place.
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0 # Dave 2008-06-11 07:22
Yo G - whaddup? Glad U enjoyed my little aside, I am just a rambling man U know....

I am certainly one that hopes that other relevancy signals will soon lessen the link addiction the web world has. This is really not just a Google problem mind you as all of the big 3 rely greatly upon them.

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+1 # Yura 2008-07-14 22:47
You should've read the experience of Donna (dazzlindonna) of her blog being PR punished for leaving a link in her paid review. That's what kept and is keeping people from doing it the natural way (as if the search engines didn't exist).
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