Time-sensitive nofollow

Album Cover: New Skin for the Old Ceremony

"You told me again you preferred handsome men, but for me you would make an exception."
Leonard Cohen / Chelsea Hotel #2

Posted on February 17, 2007 2:21 PM in Blogging
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

While we're on the subject of blog spam, I might as well post about another anti-spam measure I've enabled here on my blog.

Those who are at all familiar with blog spam (if you're a blogger and aren't familiar, I envy you!) know that its main purpose in life is to get attention from Googlebot. They're also most likely aware that a couple years ago, Google offered up a potential solution to the problem, the use of rel="nofollow" in links.

The problem with using rel="nofollow" in your blog's comments section full stop is that it blocks legitimate comments from getting any Google Juice whatsoever. You may have seen what kind of impact turning off your Google Juice sharing can have. So it's obviously not the best idea.

I'm the kind of guy that likes to share the love when it comes to the Google Juice anyway. I like knowing that repeat offenders like Ryan and Ian get some Google love, because they don't have to spend time commenting on my site. They do, though, and I appreciate that.

So what have I done to reconcile the two issues? I'm implemented what I'm calling "time-sensitive nofollow." This is really simple in concept, and I wouldn't be surprised if several others have already done this and I'm just thinking of it late (as usual). But I do think it will help, even if it's just to give me peace of mind knowing that any blog spam I haven't had a chance to hide yet isn't getting any attention from Googlebot.

Rather than moderating comments before they appear on the site, which I think is kind of lame, I will continue to let all comments appear on the site right away. Comments that are brand new, though, will always have the rel="nofollow" attribute applied to all links. It usually only takes me a few hours to a couple of days (depending on how busy I am) to spot blog spam and hide it, so this threshold isn't set all that high. Once the threshold has been passed, the rel="nofollow" attribute is automatically removed and all links can start soaking up their rightful Google Juice.

I'd tell the blog spammers to read this, but I know they already are. For whatever reason, my blog spammers seem to pay a little extra attention to my blog and what I'm up to than your regular run-of-the-mill spammers do. Anyway, bring it on.

If you're interested at all in the details of how I implemented this, just let me know. I'm always willing to share PHP code snippets and what not. I think anyone with a decent imagination can picture how I am pulling this off, though. We'll see how it goes.

Comments

Ryan on February 22, 2007 at 9:00 AM:

Way to go! Staying on the cutting edge in the fight against spam!

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Computer Guru on March 09, 2007 at 5:05 AM:

It's hilarious though that something as simple as "Check this box to stop spam" is so effective against stopping it in the first place. Spam is so ubiquitous, but so stupid!

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Seychelles Web Design on March 27, 2007 at 6:56 AM:

"Google Juice" - you should coin that phrase! heh.

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Realty Seychelles on August 08, 2007 at 11:19 AM:

Coined.

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jewellery on September 10, 2007 at 1:27 PM:

Well, your idea sparked off an idea in my mind that may get to work against blogs. Can you measure how long someone is on your site for? Maybe, if they are on for only a second and trying to comment, that would be spam only a bot would comment so long.
As for regular spammers, they're not so bad if they're adding value. I don't mind them so much then. If they want to tell me about a casino when my topic is about Ruby on Rails, or something that has nothing to do with a casino, then I am not happy to have them there. Or if their comment is something stupid like 'gjgjgjg' like that's ever going to get any google juice! The rest I don't mind too much. Gets me hits as well.

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