So, you’ve probably read about the new breed of comment spammers on ProBlogger, and maybe even have read Wendy’s post about why she felt she needed to turn nofollow back on or Chris Garrett’s latest post on the subject, and you might be thinking of turning it back on yourself because of some comment spam you’re seeing. Here’s why that’s not necessary for most of us:
1. Turning nofollow back on will probably not decrease your comment spam. You had comment spam before you turned off nofollow, and you will continue to have it if you turn it back on. The reason those of us who turned it off in the first place did so was that we had come to the conclusion that it was not effective in preventing spam in the first place.
2. Even if having nofollow turned off does increase your comment spam a little bit, isn’t it worth the extra moderation time? I place a high value on those who take the time to contribute to the discussion here and am glad to give them what little Google juice I can. Several extra minutes a day moderating comments is time well spent.
3. Ruthless comment moderation makes dealing with spam easier. I really appreciate Wendy’s extremely generous spirit and how she goes out of her way to research URLs left in comments to decide whether it should be deleted or not. As generous as I want to be, I just am not willing to take the time to do that. If a comment seems spammy, I delete the URL that was left, and have no problem doing it. It’s usually relatively easy to tell the difference. I sometimes will take the time to visit the site, just to be sure, but if I don’t have time, I don’t worry about it. If the person is not commenting just to leave spam, they will be back and comment again. Even if they won’t, I don’t feel obligated to give them Google juice just because they left a single comment. Besides, the amount of Google juice you get from leaving a comment on a blog that has nofollow turned off, even one with a high page rank, is not enough to write home about. (see this article for more info on how that is calculated)
All that being said, the problems that bloggers like Wendy deals with are on a much larger scale than most of us have to worry about. Even if one of the trolls gets multiple comments through on my blog and then redirects them to a nasty site, I can’t imagine it would cause Google to drop me. If I had to spend more than about an extra 15 minutes a day moderating comments, I would probably switch from using the Semilogic plugin to using the Link Love plugin, that sets a certain threshold for number of comments left before they are followed.
Here’s the bottom line: I guess it’s possible I’m being naive, but I just don’t think it’s enough of a problem to worry over for most bloggers. Moderate comments, zap the questionable ones and if a few get through… oh well. Tell me, am I being naive? Should I be more concerned?