New Google tag... rel="nofollow"?

Scoble mentioned this morning that Google would be announcing a new tag today, so I've been keeping my eyes peeled. Anne van Kesteren just blogged about it - it looks like it's rel="nofollow".

Simon Willison seems to spell it out the best:

Reading between the lines (which in this case isn't particularly hard), this and this (don't forget to view source) suggest that Google are soon to announce that they won't be calculating PageRank for links with a rel="nofollow" attribute. Finally, an official way of fighting the economics of comment spam by denying PageRank on user-submitted link content. Sam Ruby points to Mark Pilgrim's prediction that spammers won't care - they'll spam anyway, on the offchance that they hit somewhere undefended. I'm optimistic - if the major weblog (and wiki) vendors get behind this one it could help stem the tide.

This is cool - it lets content link sources control the page rank boost they give to the link target - perfect for comment spam, forum spam, etc. Let's hope that Mark Pilgrim is wrong - if this really does make comment spam ineffective, maybe it will at least slow down a bit.

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  • But what if I _want_ Google to give credit to the legitimate referrals? These referral header buttheads are obnoxious. I say we all line up to kick their...well, you know.

  • Funny - I went for a walk after posting this and thought about that the whole way. The blog engines would need to support that on a per-comment basis then. Google is just allowing a new syntax that doesn't give Google page rank if used, which is an option we didn't have before.

    We're all just systems integrators working with the Google application now.

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