Giving Comment Spammers Less Incentive to Spam You

December 8, 2009 at 10:01 PMBen

The latest check-in of BE.NET ( has a small, but important change.  The three themes included with BE.NET now include rel=”nofollow” on the links of commenter’s websites.

This is a theme specific change.  So if you’re using a custom theme, and even if you upgrade to the latest build of BE.NET, there’s a good chance you might not have the NOFOLLOW instruction on these links.  It can simply be added in the CommentView.ascx file in your theme’s blog folder.

As I’m using a custom theme myself, I just added NOFOLLOW to this blog too.  Wikipedia has a good writeup on NOFOLLOW, in case you aren’t familiar with its purpose.  I’m a little surprised it’s taken this long to get NOFOLLOW into the themes that are included with BE.NET.  Better late than never!

I get a lot of comment spam on this blog.  As I’m moderating comments, it ends up never showing up since I don’t approve any of it (TIP to spammers, stop wasting your time!).

Comment spammers are a lot more likely to leave comments on blogs that do not include NOFOLLOW.  Yes, I’m sure a lot of the spammers actually look at these types of details when scoping out blogs to attack.

Incidentally, the ResolveLinks extension that comes with BE.NET already includes the NOFOLLOW instructions.  This is the extension that will convert URLs in comments into hyperlinks.  If the extension finds a URL like in the comment content, it will convert that into:

<a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>

This conversion is done as the comment is being served.

I’m anxious to see what type of impact adding NOFOLLOW will have on my level of comment spam.
Fingers crossed ...

Comments (7) -

I completely disagree with this decision.  Why comment on anybodies site if it isn't going to give you some love?

Please change it to a configurable setting, putting it hard coded in the files... for something as contentious as this, is not a wise idea.

This is a bit of a religious war issue.  You are either for or against nofollow tags.  Take a guess where I fall Smile

The way I see it is anyone reading the comments can click on a commenter's website link regardless of NOFOLLOW.  I personally have done this before ... where I'm reading blog comments and someone makes an interesting comment that impresses me.  I'll click on their website link to see their website/blog and find out more about them.  In some cases, I'll subscribe to their feed.

So although search engines don't increase the Page Rank for commenter's website links with NOFOLLOW there, it still serves the purpose of promoting the persons website for human readers.

There could be a setting for this, but because all the themes out there currently include their own <a> tag for the commenters website, this setting wouldn't have any impact on all those themes.  We would need to have the setting PLUS inject the commenters website link into CommentView.  The setting would work for the 3 themes included with BE.NET, but none of the other themes (until people create/change their themes so they use the injected <a> tag).

I guess I'll wait a bit and see what other response(s) come of this.

Why wait?  Isn't like it is a lot of work and just making big changes like this off the cuff with no easy way for a person to undo them is bad development.  

This debate has happened before about whether nofollow tags should be put in the code.  I understand both sides of the argument, but think it should be a setting and not something that DNBE puts in the themes with no 'easy' way to change.

>> but think it should be a setting and not something that DNBE puts in the themes with no 'easy' way to change.

Hi Clarence.  Well, as it is right now, it is easy to change (in my opinion).  In the theme's CommentView.ascx is this code:

<%= Comment.Website != null ? "<a href=\"" + Comment.Website + "\" rel=\"nofollow\" class=\"url fn\">" + Comment.Author + "</a>" : "<span class=\"fn\">" +Comment.Author + "</span>" %>

The only change required (for the people who don't mind inviting extra comment spam) is to remove: rel=\"nofollow\"

I disagree with Clarence Klopfstein. I believe comments should always be nofollowed. Google will penalize you if you leak to much pr to many links. I have bought a pr 5 link before, only to see it lower to 3 as the owner sold more links.

Your link being visible to the blog readers is good enough. Maybe leave interesting comments to make users want to click your link?

I would have to say what happened to paul was not a penalization but that his website gained PR solely from that one link so then when more links were added the link juice from that page faded (over 25 outgoing links per page)...much different from google penalizing which to me everyone is afraid of even though it seems to be a rare occasion.

Personal, overall, I think this is a good idea. If one does not like it, it can change it.

By the way, speaking about comment moderation, since I've enable it on my blog, I've added a 'Comment moderation is enabled' message. This helps somehow, as some spammers will quit adding comments when seeing this, and is fair for users to know prior posting a comment that the comments are moderated.

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