This is an old blog. Comments are officially closed and is here only for history's sake.

Visit my Web Development Blog for current entries.

John Chow has developed a DoFollow plugin to selectively remove the rel="nofollow" extension from comment links, in which he is offering for your comments at $10 a month. He also has a plan to sell the plugin and/or set up an affiliate program to peddle the gimmick.

Yes, I said gimmick and you will also notice that I emphasized the term "paid" in this post title too.

There are quite a few reasons why you should not buy into this scheme. Anyone who does will just be throwing their money away. This is no more beneficial to the subscriber than tits on a boar.

Let's say you "rent" your comment link for a few months. And remember, it is rent. If you don't pay it, you get evicted and NoFollow is taking up residence on your sofa.

Links will not pick up any juice right out of the gate either. Once they "stick" for any duration, then they may give you some benefit. But looking at a page with close to 200 hardcoded links without any comments, how much value will that be? And once it does stick, it will be buried in the archives and off of page one.

Comment links are not the same as site-wide links. Site-wide links will overpower your comment link without even lifting a finger. Chow's site has approximately 3,140 pages indexed by Google. By his admission, a site-wide link costs $240 a month -- do the math, that is only 7.6 cents per link. How many comments will you have to make to bring your margin down.

If you look at this gimmick in the right light, John Chow is not really selling you the NoFollow removal. You are paying him to comment. John is fully aware that you will be commenting (or not) on a daily basis just to get your link in there. This is reverse pay-to-comment mentality.

Lets talk about that plugin a little bit. This would be a first wouldn't it -- a WP plugin you would have to actually buy? This goes against the grain of WP itself doesn't it?

The selling of the plugin is far more evil than duping some of John's more ignorant readers into the link renting. And I wouldn't doubt if some pissed off blogger hacks the plugin and offers it up on one of the more popular download sites.

But John better revise that plugin to include the microformat rel="paid". After all, they are paid links and Google's Matt Cutts is looking very closely at them. That goes for the site-wide links too.

There is a mechanism in place via the Google webmaster console to report paid links. Albeit, it is not an official one and is being run through their spam reporting system. Currently the main purpose of reporting is so that Google can augment their existing algorithms.

And what does Matt think about paid links?


... link sellers can lose trust, such as their ability to flow PageRank/anchortext. Also, we’re open to semi-automatic approaches to ignorepaid links, which could include the best of algorithmic and manual approaches.

I even mentioned earlier this year that paid articles/reviews/posts should be done in a way that doesn’t affect search engines.

As someone working on quality and relevance at Google, my bottom-line concern is clean and relevant search results on Google. As such, I care about paid links that flow PageRank and attempt to game Google’s rankings.

I think I will just end this with by agreeing with Matt. 'nuf said.

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thats a nice point there, so, have you reported them yet? :-) it will hurt him in the coming pr update for running a link farm for sure! he already links to many in the post section, now the comments section will also link out of the site....
Nope. It never crossed my mind to report it. But I am sure from all of the hooplah over this, it will cross somebody else's

John has about 20% outbound links per page, rest are intersite. But he has more inbound links than you can shake a stick at. This one gimmick of his will just pump him up even further.

I doubt there is anything that can hurt him, even if Google quashes his clout. He is just too well known in the blogging community to put a dent in him. His readers do not usually come from Search
it seems he has not found a balance between money and good readership. I am strongly against this type of monetization. The comments section is to discuss the post, not to tell others what you made for dinner last night!!!! I never read the comments anymore..its not worth the time....
Great idea, huh?

I'm pretty warn out by John and his money making ideas. That's whay I dropped his feed and don't read his site any more. I certainly don't feel as though there's room for me without spending money.
I am not going to drop his feed, only because I never had it to begin with.

I only happened to be there because of this scheme and other blogs talking about him. So I went, saw and left.

Don't think I will be back.
This is a very good, common sense article! Thanks for pointing out we should continue the conversation here. I wait till your blog redesign is complete to feature your site at eWritings. :) You deserve the link love and more readers.
Well thank you Mihaela.

The redesign is slow, I have too many pans on the fire right now and unfortunately this blog takes the backseat.

I think what is unknown to most first -time readers here is that this blog has more links to it than they can see. If they are only looking at my current PR -- then they are not seeing the entire picture.

This blog is actually over 3 years old, and in 2004, under the old Google PR calculations was teetering on the top edge of PR 5 (it was a PR6 for a brief glimmering moment ... sigh).

The nosedive came when I went on hiatus and the blog went offline for several of those months. I am now getting back on track, and hoping for good results in the next month or two.
He definitely is a business minded man. $10 for posting do-follow comment is innovative but doesn't seem like agreed by many bloggers.
I guess I just don't get the whole blogging for bucks mentality. Yes, I want my site to make money. Yes I want lots of traffic. However if my site never takes off I will keep doing it, because my focus is something I love.
I'd be ashamed if I were someone that actually paid money to comment on someone's blog. To me, its like paying $1000 for a bottle of Pepsi just to get into the VIP area of a club just so you can hang out with all of the "cool" people in there and be "seen". Ridiculous what the internet has come to.
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