Killing weblogs in order to save them

Google has proposed a method to fight weblog comment spam that would dramatically decrease the influence of blogs. Comment spam is a nasty plague, but this cure is worse than the disease. I don’t understand why SixApart is racing to adopt this suicidal approach.
The proposal will prevent Google’s search engine from following links found in weblogs, by putting a rel=”nofollow” link attribute on web links. Blog tool vendors including SixApart raced to support the new proposal (via Joi Ito
Blogs rank highly in Google’s search results because weblogs are link-rich media, and Google’s search algorithms put heavy weight on links. Blog influence is a good thing — items that are rated highly by millions of distributed, independent actions deserve to be brought to the surface.
As described by Sunir Shah and fellow Meatball wikizens, the proposal will destroy the influence of weblogs by not counting the links.
The brilliance of Google, Technorati, del.icio.us, Flickr, blogs, and other social software is that the actions of millions of individual users, done to benefit themselves and their small communities, have combined, emergent benefits at a larger scale.
Links give us the ability to combine all of our whispers into a roar. If you dampen the signal amplification, we’re just friends talking to each other. Social software stops being a source of emergent intelligence.

2 thoughts on “Killing weblogs in order to save them”

  1. It’s not that dire. This page (http://www.sixapart.com/pronet/2005/01/introduction_to.html) explains how MT’s implementation works, which is pretty smart, and only affects comment text and comment-author links by default.
    Obviously this still punishes legitimate commenters, and will do nothing to stop the zombie hoarde of automated comment-spammers, so I’m disinclined to use it. The “nofollow” attribute really just immunizes blog operators from the icky feeling that they are unknowingly complicit in boosting a spammer’s googlejuice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *