Disqus Gives Spammers A DoFollow Thanksgiving Feast

SIERRA MADRE, CA - MAY 29:  Seventieth anniver...

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I am a big fan of the Disqus commenting system, I’ve found it to be a great addition to my blog as well as a wonderful personal tool to use on other’s blogs.  I’ve had few problems and with commenting syncing now in place on the WordPress plug-in, I’ve had very few change requests until now.  There has been a dramatic increase in human generated spam over the past week or two and if I was a spammer I would jump on this too, because DISQUS does not use nofollow.  It’s not even an option that I can find!

Let me give you an example, here’s a post I did on Disqus SEO that has been targeted for spamming (seems fitting, yes?)   The comments were on point enough that I replied before i figured out what was going on.  I replied by e-mail and the formatting is still screwed upon line wraps when you do that (My other major gripe with Disqus).

If you take a look at the page source and search for iphone and discount office supplies you’ll see some nice free dofollow links headed off to the spammer’s sites.  This makes me unhappy – unhappy customers uninstall.  Given the nature of SEO, where an outgoing link from your blog counts as a vote, Disqus should have ZERO dofollow links out of my blog’s comments unless I say otherwise!

If this isn’t corrected shortly then look I’ll be installing this Disqus Hack to handle it, and if it’s not upgraded soon i guess I’ll take a look at intense debate and see if they do a better job.

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Disqus SEO Looks Good From Here

I was a little hesitant to install the Disqus comment system, but I took the plunge to see how I liked it and I find many of the features so helpful and superior to WordPress‘s native comment system that I’ve decided to make the switch permanent. The Disqus dashboard, the universal login for all other sites using Disqus, and the ability to reply and delete comments by responding to the notification e-mail are all major reasons that I’ve decided to stick with the switch. There were two concerns that I had that almost had me hit the uninstall:

1. SEO - I’m not an expert in SEO but I have explored the basics and have seen the value that comments on a post can add to your search ranking, so I was concerned about losing that traffic source. In looking into the subject this issue was one that many bloggers had expressed and is one that Disqus is taking seriously. For WordPress users, the Disqus plugin uses their API and there doesn’t seem to be a problem. I did a little experiment to make sure that the Disqus comments are being indexed correctly, and while I can’t say they have the same value as a WordPress comments, what I see is good enough for me:

WordPress comment w/ #1 rank from my post helping people having trouble opening files with an .efw extension:

#1 Google rank from WordPress Comment

Disqus comment w/ #1 rank from my interview with Profy VP, Svetlana Gladkova:

#1 Google Ranking from Disqus comment

Obviously not heavily searched terms, but it’s what I could quickly pull from my existing comments, I encourage you to try the same thing for yourself. You’ll also note that there is no duplicate content from Disqus showing in the searches.

2. Not Hosting Comments – The problems with not hosting your own comments were made clear this past week as a database error at Disqus made all comments unavailable for a short time. Hopefully this point will be moot in a month or so as Disqus implements the export to WordPress feature that’s in the works. If Disqus goes down, you’ll still have all the data. It will be a huge reduction in risk and should help sway those bloggers who aren’t quite sure about making the change.

Zemanta Pixie

Goodbye Yahoo! Shortcuts, Hello Zemanta!

When it was released, the Yahoo! Shortcuts plugin seemed like it was going to be a HUGE help in making my posts more useful and more attractive, and while it helped, I finally got fed up with it and turned it off. There seemed to be very little development going on for it and some of the major bugs, like stacking the photo credits if you use the same picture for multiple posts and the fact it blew up and spewed code on my archive page led me to deactivate it. The Yahoo! search links were also not very helpful in adding other relevant content, and for some reason it didn’t like double spaces after a sentance. so blah! and bye bye.

Now, new on the scene is Zemanta, currently available as a Firefox plugin. I’ve installed it and am giving it it’s first run and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s still in heavy development but is very impressive, here are a few of things they are doing better than Yahoo! shortcuts:

  • Zemanta puts everything on the Write Post screen, With Yahoo! you had to jump to a new page, make your additions and then jump back and fix anything the plugin made a mess of.
  • Link suggestions are single click and go where you would naturally want. Right now you can generally pick between the site’s home page or a Wikipedia entry, more options are on the way.
  • Tag suggestions! Zemanta suggests tags for your post from your content and semantic search for related keywords you may not have written about.
  • Related Article Suggestions from around the web (see below). You may not like this if you hate the idea of sending a reader to another site, but it increases the benefit to your reader and that’s important for return visitors.

There are a few things that I would like to see added, or if they exist make it easier to find them:

  • A WordPress plugin. It’s not hard to install Zemanta, but if it were a WordPress plugin I could use it on any computer and any browser. Then it would have access to suggest from my existing categories and make use of other internal WordPress functionality.
  • Gallery Scroll for more pictures, everything I see now is Firefox and WordPress none of which I want to use so let me scroll for more than just the 9 available.
  • Internal links – give me a section of related links that are only from my site
  • OPTIONS! Give me options! What if I don’t want suggested articles with adult content and want all my inserted links to be no follow? Even changing the color scheme or the ability to turn off some of he features would be nice.

Overall, I’m impressed. I’m not real sure about the Zemified button down there, but I’ll certainly leave it up for this post!

Toluu Badge Widget

Toluu is a new RSS sharing and suggestion tool that is getting close to emerging from beta (let me know of you want an invite and I’ll see what I can do). I threw together a quick widget to allow WordPress users with widgetized sidebars to easily add and customize a Toluu badge.   More info later so check back to this post, but until then please give it a try and let me know how you like it.

-= Click Here to Download the Toluu Widget =-

*Install the widget and leave a comment here and you’ll get a free membership to WPDesigner.com’s Theme Club!

Install:

  • Download from the above link
  • Unzip it and drop the file in your WordPress plugin folder
  • Activate on the plugin menu
  • Goto Presentation -> Widgets
  • Drag the ‘Toluu Badge’ Widget from your available widgets to your sidebar
  • Click on the little note icon and customize
  • Press Enter or click the ‘X’ to save and you’re done!

TipJoy WordPress Widget

To fully duplicate the functionality of my instructions on adding TipJoy to your WordPress theme, the TipJoy TipThis plugin needed to allow users to place a tipjoy badge/banner on the sidebar. So I set out to learn how to create a widget for WordPress. The results are my earlier Spottt Widget and now my TipJoy widget!

-=Download The TipJoy Widget Here=-

Notes:

  • This is a standalone widget it you aren’t interested in the TipJoy TipThis plugin
  • The latest version of the TipThis plugin has this code built in, so you don’t need the widget
  • Download -> Unzip -> Upload to plugin folder -> Activate Plugin
  • In Presentation -> Widgets
    • Add widget to your sidebar
    • Click the little notepad icon on the widget
    • Title: appears above the badge/banner. Blank or ‘none’ for no title
    • TipJoy ID: Your tipjoy ID goes here

-=Download The TipJoy Widget Here=-