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DoFollow VS NoFollow

I feel that there is a lot of confusion as too exactly what DoFollow and NoFollow links do and don’t do. A common misconception is that if something is marked NoFollow then search engines won’t follow the link at all. This, however, is not true at all, because web crawlers simply aren’t going to pass up a potentially content rich page because its NoFollow. However, this doesn’t mean that search engines don’t treat the NoFollow links different than Dofollow.

Hey I'm the GoogleBot
Google Bot visiting a NoFollow Link

The real thing that the two types of links determine is the transfer of Page Rank or commonly referred to as “PR”. Page rank is how search engines determine how important a website is by counting the number of backlinks to the site. The idea behind this is that if your website has lots of other website linking too it then your website must have good and quality content, so it should be ranked higher in the search results. The higher number of backlinks you have to your site the higher Page Rank you will have.

NoFollow links are basically links that search engines don’t count as a backlink. This is a common practice on High PageRank sites because the higher the PageRank of the site linking to your the more it will affect your PageRank.

DoFollow tells the search engines to count the link as a backlink to the site and thus gives the site being linked to a higher PageRank based on the PR of the site linking to it.

Many sites on the web now use NoFollow links because of automated bots designed to browse the web and post links as an attempt to build backlinks to a certain domain, usually of questionable content.

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Backlinks Explained

What is a Backlink? Well, its very simple actually, a Backlink is just a DoFollow link pointing to a website. I’t’s useful to have a collection of Backlinks pointing to your website because they are used by most major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to determine the trust level of your website.

The basic concept is that the more links you have going to your site the better quality the content on the site is and thus it should be ranked higher in search engines. Backlinks also transfer page rank from site to site based on a variety of factors. The major factor is the PageRank of the site who is linking to another site. PageRank is the quantifiable way for search engines to express how much they trust your website ranging from PR1 to PR 9.

If you are linked to by a site with very low PageRank (PR) that is considered a Low-Quality Backlink because it’s not coming from a reliable source and is thought of by web spiders as a spam backlink. There are also High-Quality Backlinks which give search engines a much better impression of your site because they usually come from PR6 to PR9 Websites that are already trusted by search engines. These Backlinks are also weighted more heavily than Low-Quality ones because they are coming from a source that is known not to spam links to low-quality sites.

There are a few exceptions to the Low and High-quality backlink rules though. The major one is Social Networking sites like Facebook that have high Pageranks but only give low-quality backlinks. The reasoning behind this is pretty simple, search engines give backlinks from these sites less value because they are usually mass posted, and can easily be posted by the website owner. This is not a bad thing though as if Backlinks from Social Media sites were worth PR9 status then a link in a Tweet would be the same as being mentioned in a post on Forbes.com or NYTimes.com.

The last factor that search engines look at is the mixture of High and Low-quality backlinks. What this means is if a site only has Low-Quality backlinks then chances are that site has been spamming small blogs and social media site. But if a site has a Mix of High and Low-Quality backlinks then it tells Google that your site is linked to being trustworthy sites and shared allot by its users and thus it must have super great content.

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Microsofts New “HoloLens”

Today while I was watching YouTube I found an ad for the new Microsoft “HoloLens” and was instantly prompted to click the ad for more information. After some debate in various forums around the web, I determined that Microsoft has not yet released a Prototype of the device yet. Most of what we saw in the ad that Microsoft is airing was most likely simply computer-generated effects mixed with real world footage. Although I was of course intrigued by this new concept of synchronizing the real-world with the virtual one I cannot say that it would all be for the best. As of right now only with Smart Phones, and Google Glasses about 95% of all car accidents are caused by people distracted by technology. If this new technology were to become reality it would be best used while sitting down or working indoors in a non-hazardous environment.

With today’s modern technology I doubt that Microsoft will have the capabilities to build something like this for at least the next decade or two, but it’s a good innovative thought. I find that in its current stage the HoloLens is more relatable to something found in a Science Fiction movie than a real-world piece of technology.

We also must consider that Microsoft is currently struggling with software piracy and losing billions of dollars each and every day. Could this simply be the last attempt by a dying mega-corporation to survive the onslaught of piracy and harsh criticism from the media and public with their latest release of Windows 8?

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Geenheart Games Solution to Piracy

Just a few days ago I read a startling post by Patrick from Greenheart Games stating some startling statistics from their latest game release “Game Dev Tycoon”. In the article, Patrick explains an experiment that Greenheart conducted on the day of the PC ported release of the game involving baiting pirates to illegally download a purposely leaked version of the game containing a slight change in the story and a tracking code sending anonymous data to Greenheart servers. After the first day, the results were simply jaw-dropping, with 93.6% of all copies of the game being cracked and only 6.4% having actually purchased the game. This was especially surprising because of the extremely cheap price of the game on stores like Steam and the Windows Store of only $8 USD.

In late 2014 the CEO of Ubisoft games gave an interview to Gamespot regarding a similar study with Ubisoft games which gave remarkably similar results. A grand total of 95% of all Ubisoft games being played have been cracked versus purchased through legal stores and marketplaces. The list goes on, and on through nearly all major game and software companies like Adobe, EA Games, and many more.

So what does this mean for the software industry? Well, there are two very different stories here when we’re talking about companies trying to stay afloat. Smaller companies made up of no more than 5-10 members could very easily go bankrupt after their first or second release. Bigger companies with well-established products are a whole different story because they have access to major server banks and all the latest encryption. While smaller companies cannot afford to make massively multiplayer games, bigger companies have the resources available to make software online and thus not able to be pirated.

Here are some example of Online VS Locally run Softwares

Can be Pirated (Locally Run)Cannot be Pirated (Run Online)
GamesMinecraftBattlefield
General SoftwareMicrosoft OfficeGoogle Docs

Because the user must have a valid copy of the game these online games seem to be the perfect solution to the piracy problem, Right? Well, like I said earlier servers are expensive and small startups can’t possibly afford to produce games of the scale and complexity required to have an online setup. Meaning that this makes it extremely difficult for small game developers to be successful.

In the end, while piracy may be convenient now, it will sooner or later come back to haunt us when even the Major corporations still struggle to break even with the costs of producing such technological marvels.

What to see what the Secret Change in the Cracked version of Game Dev Tycoon? Watch this video or read this article.