DoFollow: is it really worth it?

Comment spam

This weekend I have been the victim of a wave of comment spam. In the space of 50 minutes one individual left a bout of comments. All were relevant to the topic of the posts although identifiable as spam as none of the comments were particularly deep or engaging – ie, one or two sentence responses vaguely agreeing or disagreeing.

More of a giveaway was the blatant keyword stuffing and the fact all of the comments linked to a commercial site connected to those keywords.

This has all the hallmarks of the kind of comment spam service revealed by Darren Rowse earlier this month. This kind of service has split the DoFollow movement with some feeling like their generosity has been exploited and others vowing to battle on against the spammers.

My response has been measured:

  • DoFollow stays for now, although I have removed Randa’s badgepublicising it.
  • I have published a comment policy and put a link next to the comment form.

For me this is a disappointing step as the main reason I adopted DoFollowwas to encourage new readers to comment and engage. However, I now feel that displaying a badge is advertising myself to spammers, yet without the badge new readers won’t know that I DoFollow anyway.

My comment policy does publicise the fact that I DoFollow. And in the same breath it also demonstrates that I’m on the lookout for spammers and know what they’re up to. Whether or not the policy will get read and have any effect is another matter.

Is there a future for DoFollow?

I have to admit, I’m not as convinced as I once was. But the opinions of my regular readers – you – are much more important than the fear of spammers.

Is manually entered and seemingly relevant comment spam a problem? After all, it is relevant. If it is a problem, how do we solve it? Isn’t ‘rel=nofollow’ the best solution?