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Michael Stevenson wrote this and linked to it in the comments for the entry below:

... Two years ago, Google implemented the nofollow html attribute to prevent this very same comment spam. Nofollow is the default setting for comments on blogging platforms, meaning links placed in blog comments (including pingbacks) do not "count" in search engine rankings. It is overwhelmingly obvious that as a prevention mechanism, it simply doesn't work - spamblogs and comment spam are just too easy and cheap. What nofollow does do, though, is help keep Google's search engine rankings stable. If Google is serious about preventing comment spam, wouldn't it make more sense to prevent these guys and girls from getting accounts on Google Ads?

With the aggregation blog pictured above and the thousands of others like it, I have to complement the spammers on finding a solution for just about everyone involved:

1. Pingbacks are not followed, leaving rankings intact.
2. Google ads are a source of income for spammers and, ahem, Google.
3. I feel popular. (Excuse me while I go moderate some more comments.)

When the spamblog is the perfect marriage between Google and the spammers, what does that say about blogs more generally? As content recommenders - as citation specialists - we create value with and benefit from the work of others. We recommend, aggregate and redistribute - the spammers automate this process, as does Google on a massive scale.

Understandably, many have had enough of being this popular, and at least one blogger has issued a warning to the spammers saying they're no longer welcome. Like anyone, like Google, she's looking to protect an investment. A more radical approach might be to disable the Nofollow attribute en masse, invite the spammers in and watch as Google rankings become unsettled. From there, bloggers could wait for the changes in Google Ads policy to trickle (or roll) in. ...

This is very helpful. It corrects a mistake I made in the previous entry (that comment spam affects PageRank). And it makes clearer the complicated relationship between Web pollution and Google's interventions and interests.

Thanks, Michael!


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A book in progress by

Siva Vaidhyanathan

Siva Vaidhyanathan

This blog, the result of a collaboration between myself and the Institute for the Future of the Book, is dedicated to exploring the process of writing a critical interpretation of the actions and intentions behind the cultural behemoth that is Google, Inc. The book will answer three key questions: What does the world look like through the lens of Google?; How is Google's ubiquity affecting the production and dissemination of knowledge?; and how has the corporation altered the rules and practices that govern other companies, institutions, and states? [more]

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siva [at] googlizationofeverything [dot] com

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» Visit my main blog: SIVACRACY.NET

» More about me


Like the Mind of God (22 posts)

All the World's Information (26 posts)

What If Big Ads Don't Work (10 posts)

Don't Be Evil (9 posts)

Is Google a Library? (43 posts)

Challenging Big Media (18 posts)

The Dossier (19 posts)

Global Google (3 posts)

Google Earth (3 posts)

A Public Utility? (19 posts)

About this Book (16 posts)

Other books by Siva:


Rewiring the Nation: The Place of Technology in American Studies (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)

The Anarchist in the Library (Basic Books, 2004)

Copyrights and copywrongs cover

Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity (New York University Press, 2001)


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