free html hit counter Twitter Bios Should Not Be NoFollowed! Updated: Whuffie Me - John Battelle's Search Blog

Twitter Bios Should Not Be NoFollowed! Updated: Whuffie Me

By - September 04, 2008

I agree with Rae!

Update: Matt Cutts responds here.

The spam issue is a real one for all social applications, which includes search, of course. But I hate the baby with the bathwater approaches. I think we need to get to the next level of validation with social media – we need to start getting more granular. As humans, we’re pretty good at weeding out who is a normal person worthy of whuffie, and who is a skeezy slimeball out to take advantage. Can’t we do the same on Twitter?!


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17 thoughts on “Twitter Bios Should Not Be NoFollowed! Updated: Whuffie Me

  1. Jason Reed says:

    Absolutely- it does seem as though Google is taking the lazy way out.

  2. health says:

    Thanks for this article.
    Can i put this article to my site?
    Thanks again.

  3. nmw says:

    Like I said about half a year ago, Microsoft could EASILY dunk by simply disregarding “nofollow” tags (which are nothing more than a hoax). Sites which use “nofollow” tags are simply bogus, and Microsoft should stop the nonsense that Google started.

    As I said earlier (see http://battellemedia.com/archives/004426.php#comment_131098 ), Microsoft could, alternatively, improve the usability of this tagging system, such that users could decide whether or not to weight links that have been tagged this way (and also how much).

  4. I agree completely with the writer. It seems that a lot of research has been put into it. She even mentioned the event of TC using nofollow on sponsor posts.

    Of all the people the ones who need to take stand are bowing to this non sense like lame ducks. Really bad for the web, really bad for us.

  5. dir says:

    o que reverte num maior poder e capacidade de decisão e soberania com respeito às outras comunidades.

  6. eduo says:

    nmw: Alternatively, Google could just stop indexing anything coming from twitter and not say a thing. Then complainers would think they’ve won when they’ve actually pushed Google to be more of the “Evil” they’re not supposed to be.

    I truly, truly don’t see why links shouldn’t be NoFollow. I have no clue why a random user should use somebody else’s PR (Twitter’s, in this case).

    I know this will fly in the face of all the PR-Obsessed people but the importance of a link is the link itself, not the “link juice” it might or not provide. If I get linked from twitter I’m already happy. I don’t care for the PR, I want to visibility of actual people and that’s what the link does.

    Putting links in the bios is even worse, as it’d be directly playing the system to benefit from someone else’s PR.

    I actually believe you should get “link juice” only from the sites you actually manage and those whose PR you’re responsible for.

    And all the comparisons being made to Digg are not really relevant. Digg is an expressly-designed link-sharing site. Digged links shouldn’t be NoFollow, links in Digg comments should be. This is the same.

  7. nmw says:

    @eduo:

    I wonder how long before Google chrome is referred to as a “miserable failure” (just as the Google search engine is known in Google results for “miserable failure” today).

    Certainly, if Google extends / accelerates its blacklisting / censorship practices, then it won’t take as long as if they actually provided a credible service.

    Google PageRank used the age-old insight that links (previously referred to as “footnotes”) give an indication of the importance of information (though it provides no clue whatsoever about the relevance of the information).

    “NoFollow” basically turns off Google’s algorithm — and therefore introducing this moronic idea was actually shooting themselves in the foot (because if anyone was paying attention, they would have noticed that Google engineers were contradicting themselves by negating the validity of their very own system).

    However: I don’t think it matters all that much, because the people who use Google are not really interested in finding (as in: “discovering”) information — it’s primarily used by teenagers to watch videos or as a rolodex to look up something you already know about (the so-called “navigational” search).

    You may be interested to read about the “Wisdom of the Language” ( http://gaggle.info/miscellaneous/articles/wisdom-of-the-language ) — which is (IMHO) the primary the reason why twitter became successful in the first place. I doubt, however, that “twitter” will ever be as valuable as “news” or “weather” (or, for that matter: “search” ;)

    :D nmw

  8. eduo says:

    nmw: Pretty interesting read, thanks a lot.

    I keep thinking the same way I did, but maybe that’s because I value the link above the place where it’s put at.

    If individual twitter pages had their own pagerank, independent of twitter’s, then I’d vote against the NoFollow in the same way I’d vote against it in Blogger.com blogs, as what should make that link more relevant is the history of the person that put it there (which is what your personal homepage’s PageRank is supposed to be a representation of, although to be true this whole system has been corrupted).

    Google’s system has been broken for a long time now. Most queries bring you to splogs, automated clickcatchers, manipulating search engines with their own DNS and such anyway.

  9. Putting URLs in the Bio was a loophole popularised recently by Dave Naylor – everyone who was doing it knew it was circumnavigating the nofollow that has always existed in the website profile field – why blame Google for twitter closing an obvious exploit that was never intended?

  10. Marc Beharry says:

    @eduo:

    Twitter users create ALL of the content on the site. Without the users Twitter is worthless, so they should give credit where it is due.

    Its not really their page rank to horde, we created all of the content!

    i hope that makes sense.

    @nmw:

    I love how you put this: “Google engineers were contradicting themselves by negating the validity of their very own system”

  11. nmw says:

    @eduo:

    yes, I think we agree — and the point is that the domain name (since it is registered at the registry) is really the only reliable piece of information (and links are more/less worthless.

  12. nmw says:

    @Marc:

    Content does not only exist “on a site” — at a higher level, content also exists “on the web“.

    At this level, the domain name is also “content” (it’s “contained” at the domain name registry).

    This content is far more reliable than all of the other data on the internet — and that is the primary reason why it’s so valuable.

  13. Lloyd Budd says:

    There is no baby in this bath water. At least none to anyone but “social marketers”. nofollow is a curse we’re stuck with because of the immaturity of search engines.

  14. nmw says:

    re: update

    John, this is basically a trade-off between focusing/targeting a community for a particular type of interaction (examples might include CCC, the web2summit, wikipedia, mozilla, major league baseball, FIFA, American Medical Association, OPEC, …) versus “one-size fits-all” communities which function much like mass media.

    IMHO mass media and online do not mix all that well. As has been noted many years since, the STRENGTH of the internet is that is incredibly well adapted to narrowcastingnot broadcasting (remember how 9/11 crashed the web?).

    If “social networks” are nonetheless set up for millions of users, then that will simply mean that the information they contain is rather noisy (and that’s why I no longer use twitter very much; in contrast, I continue to be amazed at how diligent and enthusiastically the people at digg.com are addressing such issues — and I think that slashdot and digg may very well be the “prototypical” for web 3.0 [insofar as the links actually don't matter so much as the participation of experts/enthusiasts -- this will, of course, ultimately lead to web 4.6: http://gaggle.info/miscellaneous/articles/wisdom-of-the-language ;]).

  15. thai seo says:

    Thanks, I read this subject at matt cutts before and across to read your blog. I’m not fan of Twitter.

  16. some guy says:

    If that’s your opinion, maybe you could do something regarding a little known website called boingboing.net where the user:

    1) has to sign up to comment
    2) in the comments, the link points to a profile in boingboing.net, not his/her own website
    3) in the profile page, the link towards the commenter’s own website is nofollowed.

    I mean, that’s a triple hoop to jump through. I understand the nofollow part, but at lest, point towards the website, not the profile page! Leaving intelligent comments in others’ blogs is a time-honored way of making oneself known in the blogosphere.