When the sun rose and I opened my eyes this morning, tag and ping spam was the furthest thing from my mind. That came to a halt when I checked my e-mail, read through some of my feed subscriptions and visited some of my favourite tagging/social bookmarking websites.
Harsh things have been said about Sean’s ebook, but I firmly believe that if Sean hadn’t released tag and ping on such a large scale, another marketer would have. He simply met opportunity at the door and invited it in.
Tagging and social bookmarking are not new, however, it’s just hitting the internet marketing community and that means it will probably get much worse before it gets much better. Since the tag and ping ebook release, it didn’t take very long for some marketers to start spamming the folksonomy websites, but that was inevitable.
The folksonomy sites will need to deal with this problem if they want to keep their users happy (and they need to keep their users happy in order to keep their users). One solution that’s floating around is the implementation of the nofollow attribute. If the nofollow attribute is added across these sites, it would significantly decrease the search engine juice that is shared through their links.
Quick Fact: Yahoo! may not follow the rel=”nofollow” attribute within the link itself, but it does obey the robots nofollow meta tag as does MSN and Google. Technorati and Del.icio.us have already added the meta robots nofollow tag to its pages, so you really don’t get any search engine juice from their links. It probably won’t take long for the other guys to catch on and follow suit.
Should that quick fact discourage you from tagging and participating in the social web? Heck no, but you should reevaluate how you tag and participate in the social web. Tagging and bookmarking can send you significant amounts of traffic, however, if you start tagging for terms that don’t relate to your page, the traffic is not targeted. Un-targeted traffic amounts to no more than wasted bandwidth.
If you’re new to tagging and social bookmarking and on a budget, I’d recommend Lisa Ginger’s Tagging Secrets which is a bit more economical. It should get you started on the right foot, but always be mindful of how you use the system. Play by the rules and it will be better for everyone, don’t play by the rules and ruin it for everyone including yourself.
Update: You know you have a problem when Seth Godin takes notice. It seems that spamming social networking sites has been getting out of hand. Other names in the community like Steve Rubel and Om Malik are chiming in with their thoughts about the social spam problem. It’s just a matter of time before these social networks start fighting back, and I’m 98% sure they’ll win.