Dec 13 2007

CommentHunt and DoFollow

Published by Meg at 12:58 pm under General, rant

<sigh>It’s a real shame there are people out there so desperate for a “followable” link.

What do I mean by that?

You might often see blogs with one of these logos:

I follow

As a brief explanation, most blogging software, by default, automatically inserts a piece of code before a commenter’s URL that tells a search engine spider (like Google) NOT to follow that link - that it’s a link that is irrelevant. It’s a way of protecting search engines from links to “spammy” sites.

What supporters of the DoFollow “movement” generally think, is that if you take the time to comment (and it’s not spam), then you should be rewarded by that link “counting” (and the spider can then follow it through to your site).

So we make the conscious decision to over-ride what is deemed irrelevant. Of course there are pros and cons of doing this - and there is potential for abuse if comments are not vigilantly moderated.

This blog uses a variation of “dofollow” (also known as “no nofollow” or “I follow”). After the paid comments furore, I installed Lucia’s Linky Love Plugin which means that after a certain amount of comments, the commenter’s blog URL is “followable”. That way, it “rewards” regular commenters, but makes people only interested in a link back work that little bit harder.

A while back, I replaced my little badge with this one:

Nonofollow

The main reason I did that was because the “You Comment, I Follow” can be a bit ambiguous. Some people can think that it means “If you comment on my blog, I’ll follow you back to your blog (and comment there)”. This is the “You comment, I Reply” movement. Not saying that this new badge is entirely self explanatory either, mind you.

Yesterday I received a comment on a blog post that was four months old. That’s certainly not unheard of, but the comment read:

for me its hobby.i njoy it to the fullest.

So I clicked through to the site. The first post had me amazed. It’s a major rant at “senior bloggers” with high page ranks who purport to be dofollow bloggers, but for whatever reason have comments turned off or do not in fact apply follow to his comments. The indignation! Expending all that effort in reading a post attentively, only to find he is not issued a followable link for his effort.

Furthermore, he says he is NOT a spammer, but recommends that people read articles fully and post genuine comments - that hopefully some senior bloggers would realise that a 2 or 3 line comment which is meaningful is not spam.

Now is it just me, or do you see nothing particularly meaningful in his comment? I’m not trying to be a comment grinch, but I don’t see that this adds value to the conversation, particularly four months after the fact.

(Please don’t get me wrong - I often leave quick, appreciative or “me too” comments that probably don’t add much value to the conversation, and I welcome these comments here too. But I’m not the one bitching because these “meaningful” comments don’t have followable links).

Comment Hunt

The blogger then recommends a customised Google search called CommentHunt. Yes, this search engine will search all the dofollow blogs in its database for the given search topic. Apparently it’s supposed to have over 800 high page rank dofollow blogs.

CommentHunt

This is what some bloggers have devolved to, the quest for a followable link in the comments of a high PR blog.

Is it just me that thinks this whole practise devalues the blogging experience?

Print This Post Print This Post

21 Responses to “CommentHunt and DoFollow”

  1. swollenpickleson 13 Dec 2007 at 1:32 pm

    I’ve noticed an increase in the number of comments on my blog since it was added to a “Blogs that display the top commentators plugin”. Apparently that plugin doesn’t apply ‘nofollow’ to the URLs of the top commentators. Since being on the list I’ve received comments from people seemingly trying to make sure they get their link associated with their chosen keywords. I’m wondering what will happen if I remove the plugin? Actually I’m pretty sure what will happen, but I might do it anyway just for fun.

    swollenpickles’s last blog post..Hitman movie review

  2. Katieon 13 Dec 2007 at 2:40 pm

    I got confused when I first saw that tag too, that’s why I wrote about them on my blog and included links to where people can read more about them. I also placed the two “I reply” and the “I follow” buttons next to each other so people can see that they are different.

    I reward my regular commenters. I have the timing that a comment must be up for at least 24 hours before the commenter gets his/her linky-love. If there’s a spam comment, I remove it before they get the love.

    There are always going to be ways to abuse everything. I’m not surprised “CommentHunt” began - it’s just the same as when people started paying for comments. It’s how you USE the system that matters - for me, it’s just a reward for those who comment regularly on my blog. If I knew how to turn off comments on older posts, I would. But now pretty much if I get a comment that’s slightly dodgy on old posts, I just delete it. If it’s a genuine commenter, they’ll come back, or contact me asking where their comment went.

    Sorry this is long, I blabbered.

    Katie’s last blog post..Christmas ≠ My Birthday!

  3. Lighteningon 13 Dec 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Hmmmm….yep, that’s what I thought that “you comment, I follow” little thing was. Here I was thinking those blog writers must be amazing to follow all their comments all the time. I try to but could never make a commitment to always follow up every comment so wouldn’t actually STATE that. So what you’re saying makes more sense….well the bits of it I can actually make sense of it do.

    While we’re talking about comments (yeah, most of this post went over my head lol), is it hard to get one of those little boxes you have that lists your top commentors???? I think that’s really cool and I’d like to know who the top commentors are on my blog.

    Okay, my head is refusing to accept that I don’t get this….so what does a “followable link” do???? Is this to do with technorati or something different again?

    Oh and yes, I think it’s deplorable that someone would leave a comment simply to get some kind of “followable link” (whatever that is lol). Where does that leave those of us who just generally like to talk alot and write comment essays etc etc……?????? Nooooooo……don’t show me the “not kind, generous and selfless” side of blogging. Aren’t all bloggers and commentors just nice people?????

    Lightening’s last blog post..Five Post Meme

  4. Phileeepon 13 Dec 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Meg,

    As a newbie at this game (someone you has bought a domain - but not had it hosted or got content on it yet) i really have to say i enjoy your posts very much.

    I have thought about blogging for some time, and after recently reading your post on snoskred, i have decided to contact her and take the first step.

    Thank you for putting the whole “nofollow thing” into simple terms. I agree with you whole-heartedly on your nonofollow idea… don’t fight/penalize the people who love and enjoy your blog. Fight the damn spammers!

    With my research into the seo world (light and dark as i understand it?!) it certainly can be a shady (pun intended- tho not funny:)) world can’t it?

    Anyway thought i would take time to let you know to keep up the good work, and thank you for writing blog that is REALLY helpful to noobs like me. Loved your post on hosting, and also your one on writing in wordpress which i hope to use very soon ;)

    Phil ;)

  5. Brown Baronon 13 Dec 2007 at 5:02 pm

    A search engine for dofollow blogs? Heh. I like going around and joining the conversation. If it happens to be a dofollow blog, it’s just a bonus.

    Brown Baron’s last blog post..Generate Multiple Passwords Without Having To Remember Them

  6. Burgoon 13 Dec 2007 at 5:07 pm

    @ Katie:
    Although I haven’t tried it myself, I know that there IS a “comment timeout” plugin for WP, which allows you to close off comments automatically on your posts, after a certain time period. Check out http://jamesmckay.net/categories/wordpress/comment-timeout/ although that’s the only one I’ve come across.

    @ Meg,
    I’m also rocking the Lucia Linky Love plugin, and so far it seems to be doing well (although, to be honest, there’s only really a small amount of spammers targeting me at this stage, and I think the only person who’s returned enough times to qualify for the dofollow is YOU… hehe)
    As a side-note, I was looking at all the above comments and wondering how that “last post” thing worked… that CommentLuv plugin looks awesome!

    Burgo’s last blog post..Led Zeppelin - Still, and always, heroes.

  7. Burgoon 13 Dec 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Bah. The Comment Timeout plugin link caught a comma. Just remove that and the url will work fine :)
    Burgo’s last blog post..Led Zeppelin - Still, and always, heroes.

  8. Bettinaon 13 Dec 2007 at 5:24 pm

    Im with Lightening in that I don’t quite “get” all this stuff yet. Who knew that blogging would be such a quagmire? lol Thanks for shining a little light on the topic for me.

    Bettina’s last blog post..4 Quick Questions

  9. kimon 13 Dec 2007 at 7:39 pm

    I am with Lightening and Bettina.. I hadn’t thought about the comment “protocols’ at all.. If I like a post. I comment.. It is as simple as that…

    I don’t really understand the I follow /no follow/lets all follow together… that’s why I have you Meg…hehehehe you explain it S-I-M-P-L-Y.. so dills like me can work all this stuff out… eventually anyways *sigh*

    cheers kim..

    p.s I want the little box thingy that lightening wants too!!!!

    (hehehehe)

    kim’s last blog post..just a quickie.

  10. Leeon 13 Dec 2007 at 8:02 pm

    When I recently moved over to my new blog I forgot to remove the nofollow, I used to have a plugin that gave me the option of turning nofollow back on in a case by case basis.

    Now I’ve got a comment cloud which lists the people who have left a comment in sidebar cloud (much like the tag cloud).

    I value the people who take the time to leave a comment but the idea of leaving a comment simply to get your link sucks.

    Lee’s last blog post..A hand written post

  11. Leeon 13 Dec 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Oh by the way i only just noticed the CommentLuv plugin - that is cool!!!

    Lee’s last blog post..A hand written post

  12. […] the comments in my last recent post about dofollow it’s evident that my explanation was a bit vague. I’ll try and clarify that a bit […]

  13. Megon 14 Dec 2007 at 10:29 am

    Swollen Pickles - Yes, you are right that it removes the nofollow. I’ve actually replaced “recent comments” with this in my sidebar. It gets picked u by Technorati this way too. I haven’t had anyone appear to try to game it though, yet.

    Katie - I haven’t seen that time thing with the Linky Love, but I suspect Snoskred might use something similar. Seems like a good idea.

    Lightening, Bettina and Kim - hopefully my latest post answered (some of) your questions!

    Phileeep - welcome and thanks for your kind words. Y

    ou are very right about black/white hat SEO - and that extends to behaviour in the blogosphere. I understand the frustration of setting up a new blog and wanting to get visitors to it, but I don’t think these people realise that it just ISN’T the way to go about building up credibility and respect.

    I’m sure Snoskred will look after you well and I’ll bet she’ll be pleased to do up a new blog, rather than having to transfer an old one ;) Best of luck.

    Brown Baron - I’m with you. I suspect that that kind of behaviour and the bloggers behind it won’t last the distance. You can’t build up relationships that way.

    Burgo - comma removed. I think I’ll have a look at that plugin, thanks. Often it’s old blog posts that spammers target - no comments=no spam.

    Lee - commenter cloud, cool I don’t think I’ve noticed one of those before.

  14. Vanessaon 14 Dec 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Hi,

    It’s amazing what people will do to get that extra link. I noticed in my stats that someone had used some scraper thingie (way over my head) that saved 100 blogs that use it with their PR rank etc.

    I read your Linking, Spiders and Comment Love post too and saw that you started using the commentluv plugin. An interesting little experiment you might want to try now :-) is to see how many are searching out blogs with the commentluv plugin and in turn hitting your blog for a very brief visit.

    I say that because I was going through my stats and where my visitors came from and noticed a whole slew of them that arrived after searching that particular area :-)
    Vanessa’s last blog post..Promote Your Blog With Its Own Business Card

  15. Neeravon 14 Dec 2007 at 7:59 pm

    I too have been flooded by comment spam since enabling the “no nofollow” plugin and then being listed in places like commenthunt.com

    Thanks for mentioning that Lucia’s Linky Love Plugin. I’ve installed it immediately .. let’s hope it has an effect

    Neerav’s last blog post..Update: Life on Mars on TV Dec 19th + Top Gear on TV Jan 7th (2 comment/s)

  16. Neeravon 14 Dec 2007 at 8:01 pm

    PS Meg, please tell us what effect the commentluv plugin has on the level of comment spam you get

    It looks like a cool feature but I fear it will attract even more spammers…

    Neerav’s last blog post..Update: Life on Mars on TV Dec 19th + Top Gear on TV Jan 7th (2 comment/s)

  17. Mike Macgirvinon 14 Dec 2007 at 11:19 pm

    A bit of history… The ‘nofollow’ movement started because of a big rash of spam a few years back. The spammers were doing everything to inject links into blogs, because the links increased their pagerank on a popular search engine.

    The search engine responded by suggesting that ‘anonymous’ comments should be tagged ‘nofollow’ so that these evil persons wouldn’t harm the blogger’s own pagerank by association. It would also decrease the value of the spam since it wouldn’t show up on searches.

    We all did that.

    The world has changed a bit in the meantime. We discovered that you could pretty much eliminate spam by requiring login accounts with email verification. Yeah, you also get a lot less comments - but you get almost zero spam. That’s why everybody wants you to register these days. There are still a few sites that allow anonymous comments, but it’s only a matter of time before they get tired of deleting a few thousand spams every day. The more popular the blog, the more spam. Most of us have better things to do than tap a delete key for hours on end.

    I currently have the comment _entry_ page tagged ‘nofollow’, but this is only so I don’t have the comment entry form available on the web for non-members to try to use. I go one better than ‘follow’ and provide comments inline - I don’t know anybody else doing that currently - though everybody did a few years back until the spammers hit. Yeah, if I had 3200 comments on each article like LittleGreenFootballs this would be a usability problem, but with the typical 2-3 commenters a month it’s so much nicer not to have to click an additional link to see the comments. Everything’s right there on the main page.

    Mike Macgirvin’s last blog post..Over, under, sideways, down

  18. cerebralmumon 16 Dec 2007 at 11:56 pm

    I didn’t even think about the clarity issue when I put up the U Comment - I Follow button. I might switch. As for searching out blogs which do follow, there’s not a chance I would expend my energy on it. I read so much stuff outside of my “niche” and comment when I feel I have something to say, expecting nothing in return. I expect my site to build solid links by writing as well as I am able and building connections. If all my ranking etc was based on comments left to get some link love, what value would my blog have? What would be the point of blogging at all? That’s just sad.

    cerebralmum’s last blog post..Cleaning up and link love…

  19. […] thanks to Burgo who suggested this […]

  20. Funny Guyon 06 Jan 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I try not to do the “me too” comments, because I don’t want my time wasted commenting by the few people who would delete the comment… So I usually explain why I agree or disagree.

    I think dofollow is good, because I moderate my comments with an iron fist, and a machine gun too. Not to mention, I’m secretly a ninja with ninja skills who has a really quick ninja kick.

  21. Funny Guyon 06 Jan 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Hey sorry to double post… But I realized swollen pickles has commented on multiple articles on your blog! I know him too… What an extremely minuscule world we live in…