Robert Scoble takes a stab at what he calls a "anti-nofollow religion" that has sprung up in The "no nofollow" religion. To be fair, there's also a "pro-nofollow religion" as well.
As with most debates, the truth is at neither extreme. Nofollow isn't a perfect solution to blogging comment spam, but neither is it a waste of time. It's nice that web authors (not just bloggers, everyone!) have more choices over what will get indexed.
Interestingly, the NoNoFollow site that Scoble is reacting to was apparently started by some well known German bloggers in part worried that nofollow tags might work against bloggers, such as by robbing them of links they see as helpful with search engines.
As I've written before, such arguments bring the bloggers making them much closer to the comment spammers they despise. So this comment from Robert's post echoes with me:
Discriminates against legitimate users as spammers? Huh? Since when did writing a comment mean that you deserve the full search engine juice of getting linked to by someone else?
Robert also touches on the whole "blogs are superpowerful with search engines" topic that I disagree with:
Could be used to further discriminate weblogs. Um, weblogs are actually showing up too high for their real-world relevance. Here, why am I the #3 "Robert? [on Google]"
Why? Not because you're a blogger, Robert. It's because you're a person that lots of people link to with the word "Robert" in your name. Look at the other things coming up tops for "Robert." Most of them are not bloggers.
Heck, here's a new page just up with tips for those using the Blogger system that continues this type of myth of blogs as some type of search kryptonite, able to bring the mighty search engines to their knees:
Blogs rank well in the search engines by their very nature. They are regularly updated with keyword rich content. Most blog writers stick to a main theme for their blogs making relevance easy. Because of the blog?s versatility, the blogger can add more themes to the blog and tie them together, enabling a blog to maintain several strong themes.
Actually, many blog writers are all over the place in what they write about in publishing on their home pages. That dilutes what the home page is about and can cause what its relevancy is for to a search engine to constantly change.
As for "themes," the search engines have consistently said that keyword relevance is done on a page-by-page basis. So have all the pages on a particular topics you want -- that doesn't somehow make the entire site more relevant for a particular term. If having a site be all about a particular topic were crucial, then Amazon would never rank well for anything. Instead, you constantly stumble upon it for a variety of keywords in search results.
Blogs can certainly quickly attract links that search engines depend on, and that can help them more than other sites that don't have the ability to easily generate new links. As more and more content is published through blogs, it's also natural we'll see more of them in search results. But content just being on a blog is not a guaranteed rocket to success.
A search on Google for "cars" doesn't give me any blogs about cars in the top results, despite the fact we've got car blogs out there. A search for "movies?" The same thing.
For more on blogs and search engines, see my older article, Loving Each Other More: Search Engines & Blogs. For more on the nofollow debate and how nofollow goes beyond blogs, see my recent post More On Link Condom & Blogger Worries Over Nofollow.