RE: rel="nofollow" attribute

There seems to be a little confusion coming down from the soapboxes. What
problem is the proposal solving? It is *only* aimed at preventing people who
spam comments from getting a better page ranking in Google, despite the fact
that the title of the document is "Preventing Comment Spam". But the
proposal doesn't prevent the spamming, so your point about 'giving authors
what they need' hardly seems relevant -- it's giving Google what it needs,
and perhaps giving searchers what they need ... but not authors.

Now, that doesn't mean I'm against the idea -- and of course Google have a
perfect right to introduce techniques to try and enhance the user
experience. But we have to say that the proposed solution is a pretty bad
one! Anyway the web won't collapse, and life will go on, but for the record
I've said why I feel the whole thing is a slippery slope -- and runs counter
to one of the goals of XHTML 2.0, which is to tidy up the metadata story of
HTML -- at:


On this topic in particular, it says:

    The problem with this whole proposal is that it changes
    the meaning of the @rel attribute -- or if
    we were to slip into OO terminology for a moment, it
    *overloads* the attribute. The whole point of
    @rel is to define a relationship between
    two documents. The whole point of 'nofollow'
    is to say that there is *no* relationship between
    two documents. It's like using a special value of the
    title element to say that there is no title, or a
    special value of the @style attribute to say that
    there is no style -- it's just plain wrong. You cannot
    say that the relationship between two documents is that
    a search engine should ignore the relationship between
    those two documents!



Mark Birbeck
CEO Ltd.

t: +44 (0) 20 7689 9232

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
> [] On Behalf Of Anne van Kesteren
> Sent: 20 January 2005 20:23
> To: Jens Meiert
> Cc:;
> Subject: Re: rel="nofollow" attribute
> Jens Meiert wrote:
> > Rather some alternative solution than this attempt, which in my 
> > opinion should be ignored.
> So world wide implementations should be ignored? If the W3C 
> had proposed 
> something for this a while ago, maybe in a single draft, I guess it 
> would have been possible.
> However, since it seems (I may be wrong) that the W3C is 
> currently not 
> really looking for what authors need, solutions are find in 
> one way or 
> another and implemented in user agents.
> This particular thing is/will be implemented in at least 3 
> major search 
> engines and in at least 10 weblog systems[1]. And that is 
> only on day of 
> release.
> I do not think the W3C can simply ignore such things and say 
> that some 
> alternative solution should be made. If the W3C wants some 
> influence on 
> where the web is heading it should act before such a thing as 
> this happens.
> They can easily do this by looking for what authors want and 
> what useful 
> extensions would be for HTML and XHTML that authors need 
> today instead 
> of in 20 years.
> [1]<
> t-spam.html>
> -- 
>   Anne van Kesteren
>   <>

Received on Friday, 21 January 2005 01:14:14 UTC