Back in 2009, BBC launched a new prototype called Shownar. The latest prototype from BBC aimed to track the buzz around T.V and radio shows. It will help the visitors to keep up with the latest trends and get them connected with like-minded people.
BBC pledged that any blog linking to their shows will be featured on their website with a link back. However, the truth began to unfold when bloggers found out the links given by BBC were No-follow.
What is a Nofollow tag?
Nofollow is a label that publishers use to inform the search engine to ignore a specific link. These links do not influence the search ranking of the linked websites. It is used to feature the paid scam links on the website to avoid a penalty by search engines. But Shownar used the links to their advantage to rank better.
The tag deprives the target link of any credit and ignores their contribution in the post. Shownar similarly did this to the bloggers that reviewed their shows.
How did BBC benefit from it?
Shownar automatically captures all the links talking about BBC shows. Then a review is completed after visiting the site. If the article meets their standard, it publishes and links back. However, it prevents the search engines to count it by labelling it as No follow.
All the links that Shownar mentioned on their websites were Nofollow. But users cannot simply tell the difference without the webpage code. When you explore their website’s HTML, you can easily see all the no-followed links.
Many bloggers looked for links to get more audience and started reviewing BBC movies. However, when they became aware of the reality, they protested for being exploited. Many of the reviewers were left disappointed after finding out their contributions to the website are of waste.
BBC was quick to take down the website for a few weeks and guaranteed a better version. They revised their approach by ensuring that the blog content is strictly related to the BBC program. When a blog met the standards, Shownar removed the no-follow tag.
Despite BBC’s efforts, Shownar was a failure and was closed soon after.