Good news: a small search engine company called Google – you may have heard of them – have implemented a system by which links tagged with the
rel="nofollow" attribute don’t contribute to a site’s PageRank. This is a Good Thing, as PageRank-boosting is the main reason for comment spam. At least in theory, this should mean that comment spammers will have no more reason to post on blogs, although quite how long it will take them to figure this out and whether they’ll find some other reason remains to be seen.
Better news than the first bit, but not quite as good as the second bit: Google, unlike some companies I could name, have (apparently) managed to implement this new feature without messing with the HTML specification, which explicitly allows for extra link types to be specified. It does, however, mention a
profile attribute needing to be set in the
<head> tag – I’m not sure whether this is something that needs to be added which points to some Google profile, but a test document I threw together without it seemed to get past the W3C validator. Something I’m going to have to look into at a later date, I feel, but at least it means people using
nofollow will still be able to check their pages for validity.
In short, this is a very welcome development, and one I hope will help curb the glut of comment spam we seem to be seeing at the moment (especially for Movable Type users, causing some of them to move over to WordPress). In short, I’m hopeful – maybe we can kill off comment spam for good.