MySpace Grabs Comment Links

TheirSpace

MySpace has silently changed the way they deal with comments. Any link included in a user comment is now replaced with a new ‘mysplink.’ For example, I posted a link to Widgify to my friend’s MySpace page. I set the link target to:

http://www.widgify.com

When the link was published to his MySpace comment section, the link target was replaced with:

http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vd3d3LndpZGdpZnkuY29t

This means that MySpace can now not only track link-out activity, but can also block outbound links. This only seems to be the case with new comments. Old comments still point to their original link targets. MySpace has already turned off links for Flash widgets, so there is definitely a pattern emerging. This activity is extremely interesting in light of the upcoming changes coming soon from MySpace competitor, Facebook. Facebook seems to be moving in the opposite direction – opening up to developers. I wonder if MySpace take a hint from web history, or continue to move along their current trajectory. I guess time will tell if Tom still wants to be everyone’s friend.

p.s. Thanks to Matt K. from Clearspring for the find. This was also covered in Web Design 10.

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hoomanradfar Written by:

  • Actually, it's a pretty extensive change in the way they deal with links – first started appearing a few days ago. We've been looking into it, but not sure whether they have a deal with msplinks (nothing was announced).

  • If you find out more info, keep me posted man. Later.

  • This could be an anti SEO move – see the discussion on Digital Point:
    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=3

    If that's the case, it's interesting that they're not using the Google endorsed no follow tag instead.

    Pete, is msplinks a company?

  • Lawrence,

    Sorry, no I meant a partnership with Mark Monitor. They own the domain.

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  • This move is a SEO curveball for a lot of people. Seems like Myspace is rolling out a slew of changes over the weekend. Let's see where this ends up when the smoke settles. Good stuff Pete, Lawrence and Radfar.
    -Brian

  • Hooman Radfar

    I am curious to see where this ends up as well. This is an extremely heated issue. With respect to the SEO question, this is definitely going to make a bit of a mess out of things. "Curveball" is definitely a kind way to put it. 🙂

  • The "official" word from Tom is

    "easily turn off links to spam, phishing, or virus sites. booyah!"

    Log into your MySpace profile to get the entire announcement. Somehow, I doubt that is the "entire" story. But, it does sound good for PR reasons.

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  • Idris

    Has anyone noticed these links just redirecting to myspace.com? Whenever I link to a Freewebs site (like http://www.freewebs.com/idrism) it gives me a link that just redirects to the myspace homepage. wtf

  • ivan

    Idris is right, these links are redirecting sites like freewebs.com and bravehost.com to myspace.com
    it is extremely unuseful, considering i want my pages promoted.

  • crazy lombardo

    I tried putting bulletins, "about me"s and comments with the link http://www.freewebs.com/nosourcestatistics, only to direct people back to the myspace.com page which sucks. I have which muppet are you and such which direct to their sites. This really sucks.

  • Rob

    Truth: I Never Accepted Tom as a "Friend" from the Start–HAHAHA

    I spent many hours over the course of a year designing two random quote generators on my private AOL (paid account). They are two simple pages each with only one link back to MySpace! But the new msplinks have rendered the paths inaccessible from my MySpace page. What is it that's so threatening? My AOL acct. or the quote generator from Lycos HTML Gear? I've emailed their Help Desk 3 times and received the same generic non-answer to my problem. (Their troubled Goth msg. boards are no help either) If they are suggesting that I'm a phisher that's laughable! I don't even have "friends" or contact people via MySpace–It's just a design hobby in my lonely life. But I get the last laugh… MySpace and its paranoid geeks are more pathetic!

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  • Joe

    This change has made me very angry. You can't read the linking text anymore

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