Thursday, September 4, 2008

Twitter nofollow bugfix yields angry reaction from exploiters

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Yesterday, Twitter fixed a bug that allowed you to have a value-passing link from Twitter to your website. This caused a big reaction, and since it was Matt Cutts who pointed this bug, Google took all the blame.

It is popular nowadays to nofollow all the links that go from your domain. Wikipedia does it. Twitter was no exception. The scenario is simple:
  1. get all the link juice in
  2. give no link juice out
  3. Profit $$$. 
 This boosts your pagerank a little, but also turns you into a "black hole", sucking link juice from everyone and keeping it all for yourself, thus giving you a reputation of a bitch.

All the links that you would drop in your twitter messages were nofollowed. A website that you specify in your twitter profile was nofollowed as well. However, due to poor skills of Twitter engineers, a good workaround was found by inventive blackhats SEOs. All you needed to do is to put a link to your website into your One Line Bio profile field - and stupid processing engine would turn it into a fancy value-passing link from a high pagerank page (Twitter currently has PR8, your page could be PR5-7).

Of course, everyone who had even a slightest idea what SEO is, exploited this heavily.
Now it has been shut down. Oh well, happens - exploits usually don't last long. But what the hell is the reaction to this?
I will quote Sugarrae in her post to which I have linked before:

An even bigger question for me is, if, IF, Google is really coercing companies like Twitter based on threats of dropping them from their index for non-compliance, at what point does someone decide that due to Google’s reach and power, that doing so is no longer a case of “guidelines” but rather one of blackmail?
What the fuck is wrong with you, people? It was a bug - if Twitter creators really intended to give you a credit for your work on Twitter they wouldn't nofollow your webpage link from the very beginning. You exploited this bug as hard as you could - and once it's been shut up - it's Googles fault - because it was Matt Cutts who finally pointed this out.

The biggest flaw in your claim is that Google actually gives a damn about followed/nofollowed links from Twitter. Why would it care? How will it influence Google? Google would actually benefit more — because if you are a smartass that can build a nice internal PR on Twitter, and then pass it to your website, then you are obviously smart and worth showing high in search results. Now, instead of this 'extra information' that would do Google even better, Google has one more black hole on its hands.

So give it a break, stop whining and don't blame Google because you have just lost a fancy high PR link that you got by cheating anyway.
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Anonymous said...

You are an idiot calling on people who questions google monopoly on web.
Be a slave of google.

Cranked said...

Your statement is stupid on so many levels that I don't even know where to start.

These people don't question Google monopoly on web. Proof: they have put links to their sites in a not-nofollowed bio field of Twitter pages just because they wanted to use Google page ranking algorithm for their benefit, even though that link looks stupid in the bio field. Talk about being a slave of Google.

Also, my personal recommendation to you, my anonymous friend: don't get too emotionally involved in this "holy war against google monopoly". We're talking about computers here, not cults or religion.

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