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To Follow or Not To Follow, That is the Question

If you are a regular visitor or commenter of this site, you wouldn’t have to worry about this post at all. I hope it didn’t have to come to this, but alas the day has come to post the all-mighty comment policy.

OMNINOGGIN is a do-follow comment blog. That being said, the do-follow is meant to reward only those people who contribute to the conversation. As this blog grows I’ve been getting a lot more comments that do not contribute to the conversation. Here are some examples of do-follow abuses I’ve seen on this blog:

  1. I’ve seen comments from are people that go around to every WordPress plugin author’s page and comments something along the lines of:

    hi. great idea. Thank you for plugin, perfect…

    The person does not use these plugins and does not even know what they do. Other times, I get these comments on posts I’ve written as a review for a plugin that I did not develop myself.

  2. I’ve also received a lot of comments with do-follow search engines / community referrals praising my post. Not that I don’t like to be praised, but “good job on this post” is not enough to make a new visitor’s comment stick. It seems like the comment is left just for the link value. I only honor these short praises from regular readers and commenters because I know they really mean it.
  3. I’ve seen praises on my WordPress plugin, but the backlink brings me to a non-WordPress blog or no blog at all.

Andy Beard (the do-follow crusader) wrote a great post about why we should Do-Follow our blog comments. He also wrote a good comment moderation guideline that visitors need to know. I am not as harsh of a moderator as Andy, but from now on I will start looking at these things on all comments being left on this blog. That being said, please do not be discouraged from commenting and please do not take it personally if I delete your comment if it’s short or off topic. I hope you will understand and will be back to contributing in no time.

What do you guys think about the policy? Do any of you run a Do-Follow blog and have this same problem? How do you deal with it? Please share in comments!

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21 Responses to “To Follow or Not To Follow, That is the Question”

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  1. Brian

    Two alternatives would be removing the link from the comment, or perhaps rigging a WP plug-in to allow you to toggle do-follow/no-follow on a per-comment basis. Blatant do-follow abuse might as well be deleted, but it seems like some might fall in a gray area. Just $0.02

  2. Thaya Kareeson

    @Brian
    Thank you for your great suggestions about how to deal with comments that fall in the gray area. Do you know of any plugins out there that let you toggle do-follow/no-follow on a per-comment basis?

  3. Brian

    I don’t know of any, but it doesn’t seem like it would be too incredible a task, no?

  4. Thaya Kareeson

    Definitely not too incredible a task, but I just wouldn’t want to reinvent the wheel. :) By the way, I love the Shaler jump. I love the one you did on 4th of July. Instant classic.

  5. Thaya Kareeson

    @Mark
    Thank you for visiting! It’s nice to see fellow BSD lovers comment once in a while. :)

    I’m sorry if I have misled you into thinking that I will be making comment links no-follow. Implementing no-follow was never my intention at all. My plan is to keep the comment links do-follow forever *by default*, but I would like to have an option to mark a link as no-follow if I really wanted to.

    A lot of my visitors give great comments (like yours!), but I sometimes get “gray area” comments (the ones that I’m not sure if the purpose was just to gain link juice or not). This no-follow toggle method would be a good tool for me to deal with these “gray area” comment. Also leaving things as do-follow by default should alleviate a lot of this moderation work, freeing time for quality post generation. :)

  6. Mark

    Hi Thaya

    I just found your blog recently and added it to the top of my rss reader :)

    I wasnt trying to dissuade you from making a no-follow blog, just had to air my rambling of thoughts I had recently on the subject.

    For the gray area posts like “nice post thankz” I would just delete the comment! You’ll be doing yourself and your readers a favor by showing that you are interested only in meaningful comments. Why waste any more of your time on a comment that the commenter didn’t spend more than 0.5 nanoseconds thinking up?

    There is also a lot of controversy on the weight of no-follow and do-follow links so spammers may still be happy getting a no-follow link from you.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Thaya Kareeson

    @Mark
    You have a good point about grey area posts. I guess Andy Beard said it right the first time: “If I delete it, will it be missed?”

    Thank you for adding me to your rss reader. I do not post as often as many other bloggers, but that’s because I only post when I have something important to say/share. So please keep me up there in your reader, I won’t disappoint you. :)

  8. Brian

    Wouldn’t it make sense for blog owners to enable dofollow if they have spam protection in place?

  9. Thaya Kareeson

    @Brian
    Spam protection does help fight this battle since it works well against most automated spamming and some semi-automated spamming. But it does not protect you from real life spammers who go around commenting “nice post thankz” on every dofollow blog just so they can gain link juice. I’ve been looking at something like StupidFilter to help combat this, but the project has not completed yet. Do you know of any similar service?

  10. Jon Do

    Spam is our biggest problem, but with little moderation and some “captcha” plugins we can solve 90% from spam. Anyway if you have 30-40 comments per day is easy to moderate the posts … but more than that I think is pain in the ass.

    Also if we increase the minimum number of words in a comment I think it can be useful.

    I’m also intersted in a plugin like “StupidFilter” …

    Regards

  11. Thaya Kareeson

    @Jon Do
    I used to use captcha plugins on this site but after getting frustrated by many sites with captcha on the net, I’ve decided to turn it off on this blog. Instead, I use a combination of Akismet, Project Honey Pot Http:BL, and Ajax Force Comment Preview plugins to alleviate my automated spam. The problem I have now is just manual spammers who come through do-follow search engines and leave irrelevant comments. Hopefully I can plug this hole once StupidFilter comes online.

  12. Jon Do

    Yes, captcha is pretty annoying. Anyway for “manual spammers” I think a good method is to increase the number of words per comment and more than 30% of this spammers will give up … because a lot of them doesn’t know more than 10 words in English :)

  13. Thaya Kareeson

    @Jon Do
    Haha, that is a good measure of intelligence. I will up the number of required words per comment. This will hopefully help filter out these manual spammers.

  14. Talk Binary

    I recently came through your page through Plurk! Got to agree, I love your site and the way you respond to user comments! Makes me want to keep commenting! Keep up the great job!

    I just recently started a website so starting conversations is still a little hard for me. =)

  15. Thaya Kareeson

    @Talk Binary
    Thank you for visiting and for commenting! I hope you find this site helpful in developing your new website. At a glace, your site looks professional and you seem like a good writer so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

  16. Widgett Walls

    You know, it’s interesting. I get a lot of those sort of “Awesome!” comments but they’re not bearing links. Usually I’m removing the URL from people who have tried to put their e-mail address where the URL is supposed to go. But I agree with the other commenter: if somebody’s really trying to be obnoxious and just get a link–and they haven’t brought anything to the party–I’ll generally just remove the URL.

    Come to think of it, though, I did make an example of a couple of dumb linkers early on in the process by changing their URL to something a bit…shall we say…caustic. Maybe that’s it. :)

  17. Andy Beard

    I haven’t been very active for the last 2 months so had 2000 comments to moderate (those are the ones that made it through Spam Karma on very harsh settings)

    Of those, 50% of the trackbacks and pingbacks were accepted, and maybe 25% of the comments.

    75% of the comments wouldn’t be missed.

  18. Thaya Kareeson

    I wish I was getting 1000 comments per month to moderate. That would be a good problem to have on my site :).

  19. Ways to Increase Visitor Activity on Your Blog « OMNINOGGIN

    […] Dofollow your comments […]

  20. faizan

    i think you are right! many people just comment to earn some links(whether for traffic or PR) but i think allowing do-follow links on our blogs can annoy google
    any ideas regarding that?

  21. Weight Loss

    I think that moderating should be harder.So even if someone want to advertise(50%) and leave good and quality comment(50) he should be rewarded with do follow link..Good for owner of the blog , good for someone who posted quality post. Other spamming should be denied of approving and even submitted to Askimet.
    That is just my two cents.

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