I just installed a plugin to this blog to remove the default behavior to add the nofollow tag to all URLs that a commenter writes.
The nofollow tag was intended to reduce SPAM comments on blogs because it removes the incentive to post these spam comments. Google rates a page largely by the number of links from other web pages to it. The nofollow tag, that is added to a link as rel=”nofollow,” indicated to Google, not to count this link. After this, why would a blackhat SEO add a spam comment to a blog if that link would not help him to reach his objective to rank higher?
In theory that worked, but it had a side effect. Real commenters, who would have added value to a blog by commenting good comments, also stayed away because they also had lost the benefit to get link popularity. They went away to other methods of getting in-bound links. Or they went to blogs that did not have that nofollow tag set on their commenter’s contributions.
I use the plugin Nofollow Free to remove nofollow tags from comment links. It is configurable in that you can choose to remove each and every nofollow tag, or only those of registered users, and you can create a blacklist of words that would trigger to add the nofollow tag again – the male enhancer pill with a V is probably a good member for that field.