What’s All This, Then?

While I was moderating comments on the “Name That Book” thread, I spotted some lunch-meat comments into which the bot had inserted a [rel] attribute that reads “itsok.” Recognizing that rel attributes aren’t necessarily legislated from on high, is there any organized backing for such an attribute? It seems on the face of it that the spammers are making a pitiable effort to communicate to a mark-up parser that their brand of comment is OK — but unless someone else (legit) is using that attribute to appease vigilant parsers, the gesture smacks of a desperate faith that the artificially-intelligent parsing engine can read English and will say to itself, “Hmmm, well, it’s not a ‘nofollow’ or a vote tag, and it says it’s OK, so I’ll just let it through.”

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. The first two possibilities that occur to me are that their spewware provider knows of some system that fails to add nofollow if there’s an existing rel, or that he hopes it will be preserved alongside a nofollow and some consuming search engine’s crawler will be confused into following an “itsok nofollow” link.

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