Founder says nothing to see here
A bit of a Twitter spat erupted yesterday regarding Twitter making links on bio pages nofollow. Well, a spat would technically need to be two sided; it was more of a rage against the machine* with the machine remaining mostly silent.
As usual, the drama begins with a blog post. Back in July, Dave Naylor succinctly and generally without comment notified users of how despite Twitter (rather uncontroversially at the time) making weblinks from the profile page nofollow, they’d neglected to do the same under the Bio section.
That same day, Google’s Webspam cap’n, Matt Cutts, publicly tweeted about an email he sent to Twitter cofounder Evan Williams (also founder of Blogger, and inventor of the word “blogger,” according to Wikipedia) about Naylor’s blog post. The contents of that email, one might imagine, is between them.
My personal twitter page has 1700 links, 1500+ followers, contains over 7000 tweets and is a toolbar PR of 5. Last I checked, I got all those links. I wrote all that content. All those people were following me as a person. I developed that link popularity. Why on earth would I not deserve ALL the benefits (including that in the form of a profile link) from building up the value of that page?
The purpose of making links on Twitter nofollow, according to founder and former Googler Biz Stone, is to fight spam created by people or bots to capitalize on juice-passing links from a trusted source like Twitter.
Hoffman continued her complaints by suggesting a definite link between Cutts’ tweet and Twitter’s immediate nofollowing of bio links. This raised more questions about Google’s power in deciding which links count and which ones don’t. Editorial links thus far have been upheld as legitimate, even from free social media and blogging services. Only paid links have garnered any direct opposition from Google’s spam team and penalties have come in the form of rank-busting or delisting.
Despite a barrage of tweets aimed at Cutts from both Hoffman and Michael Gray, the latter tweeting a fast and furious intervals at Cutts and Williams, no answers were publicly forthcoming, that heralded transparency suddenly clouded by the fog escaping through zipped lips. Hoffman questioned about Google coercion while Gray blistered his 2,500 followers with complaints about Google distortingthe way the Web works.
Cutts took time to debunk myths about Chrome yesterday, but so far, along with Williams, has been mum on the issue of whether Cutts personally and semi-publicly reprimanded a former Googler.
In response to WebProNews request for comment, Stone denied any backstage leveraging. He replied, simply, “Using nofollow helps Twitter fight spam. It’s possible we could be more sophisticated about how we employ nofollow links but we’re certainly not under any pressure from Google.”