Blogs for Bush blogs Captain Ed ponders whether or not trackbacks are worth the bother, considering the rise in trackback spam.
I have to say, trackback spam is definitely 150% annoyance, and we've had that problem here at Blogs For Bush. We've put a lot of time and effort into making sure we can keep trackbacks active on Blogs For Bush. See below for how we've protected this site from spam: Here at Blogs For Bush we've implemented a variety of counter-measures to virtually eliminate trackback spam. MT-Blacklist has proven to be generally helpful, but there are a couple of other things we've done which have proven to help even more. About two weeks ago our webmaster Russ installed a plugin which lets us set a time period for which comments and trackbacks on blog entries would remain active. Right now it is set for two weeks. All blog entries older than two weeks automatically have their comments and trackbacks closed.
This has virtually eliminated the problem, making the job of our moderator much easier. Trackback spam most often occurred in older posts, by closing trackbacks and comments in posts older than two weeks, we've manage to shield the spammers primary target. We still get some comment and trackback spam, but maybe a handful a day... which takes a fraction of the time and energy to remove.
Patrick Ruffini blogged Movable Type needs to get on a fix for this pronto. The latest version of MT-Blacklist (in combination with old entry moderation) has effectively shut down comment spam, and I haven't even had to force users to register. Having taken out comment spam, spammers are now exploiting the trackback loophole. Fixing this would entail taking the relatively straightforward programmatic step of migrating the comment blocking/moderation functionality over to Trackbacks.
Will Franklin blogged From the perspective of WILLisms.com's growth over the past 90 days or so of blogging, trackbacks have been invaluable for breaking through the clutter, even just a little. For emerging blogs, trackbacks are crucial for cultivating a base of readers, then occasionally reminding those readers visiting the larger blogs to "come home." But trackbacks have a more important purpose. They allow blogs to engage in "conversation" about ideas, letting people discover new perspectives outside the entrenched mainstream of blogs. And make no mistake, as blogs become increasingly mainstream, without interactive tools such as trackbacks, there will be a handful of mainstream blogs, much like the mainstream media, that set the agenda on their own. In short: Save the trackbacks!
Sandy blogged It appears as part of their site redesign, the Powerline guys have eliminated trackbacks. (For the uninitiated, a trackback sends a link to another person's post to show that you've commented on what they've written about.) Boo! Hiss! Bah! No comments and no trackbacks? Not very friendly.
I agree completelyI've noticed a lot of Blogspot blogs also don't have trackback.
That is because Blogspot blogs don't come with Trackback capabilites. They tell you how to go to HaloScan to add it, but for the uninitiated it may be a little confusing, particularly the fact that HaloScan also has a comment system, and BlogSpot already has one of those.Harvey at Bad Example explains adding the trackback function to your site for various blog software including blogger. If you blog and don't already have trackback, go there to figure it out. You'll like it.
Harvey blogged Contagion of Miasmatic Review has made it easier for Haloscan users to RECEIVE trackbacks:
The code allows programs that use an auto detection feature for trackback pings to work with blogs that have installed Haloscan comments. This code doesn’t really help bloggers like myself; I still have to do the manual trackbacks. It does help all the bloggers that are using programs with auto detection to quickly and easily leave me a trackback.Copy & paste, a little quick replacement and BOOM! (as John Madden would say). SENDING them is still a pain in the ass, but at least now you'll know when an MT user is linking to you. Now if only Haloscan would implement their damn autodetect feature like they've been promising to do for the last year. Ogre of Ogre's Politics & Views has a post on the same feature.
Harvey blogged Here's an excellent short explanation from Michael of Cruft:
He also gives a longer explanation, with pictures. Which is all well & good if you use Movable Type, but how do you send them if you're stuck on Blogger or LiveJournal or some other such blogging software that doesn't do automatic trackbacks?
- The purpose of TrackBack is to let a site know that you are referencing them on your on site.
- The TrackBack URL is different than the regular permanent link URL.
- TrackBacks are fun. You should use them.
Well, you can go to Haloscan, which give you the code for installing the Trackback feature. It'll even set it up for you automatically if you have Blogger. Once you have it set up, you can log into Haloscan, fill out a form with some basic information, and send a trackback. But here's a little secret: YOU DON'T NEED TO HAVE TRACKBACKS ENABLED ON YOUR OWN BLOG TO SEND A TRACKBACK TO SOMEONE ELSE, AS LONG AS *THEY* HAVE TRACKBACKS ENABLED.
Harvey is correct, but I hope bloggers don't decide from that statement that they should not enable TrackBacks on their blogsAll you need to do is fill out the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger. Truth be told, it's actually slightly simpler than going through Haloscan.
That is correct, and here is another such formBut what if neither one of you has trackbacks enabled, or you just really don't feel like filling out the forms - either because you're busy or lazy?
Simple. You can use the "poor man's trackback", which is where you just leave a comment on their site like: "Nice post. I blogged about it here:" and leave the permalink to your post.
Harvey is correct here, but if you do use comments to leave a URL, be sure the URL is a HotLink. Some comment systems automatically make a URL a hot link, for others you may have to add the HTML code to make it a hotlinkAs long as your post is related to their post, this is NOT a breach of netiquette. In fact, it's actually a favor both to the blogger whose post you're linking - everyone likes to know they're being talked about - and that blogger's readers - who might enjoy some further thoughts on the topic (this being the secondary reason for sending trackbacks - bringing yourself some trickle-down traffic).
Even if you have trackbacks enabled, don't hesitate to use the poor man's version if you want to save a little time. The only drawback to it is that some blogs actually display the trackback links under the post, so you might have a little less visibility this way. Now here's the BIG question: WHEN do you use trackbacks? Are you morally obligated to ping someone every time you link their post? Nope. Remember, the purpose of sending a trackback is to let the person whose post you're linking know that you're linking them. If you know that this person is a daily reader of your blog and will see your post anyway, there's no reason to ping them.
I disagree with Harvey here, because IMHO TrackBacks are not JUST to let the Blog Owner know you have quoted him (that is an important use, but not the only one). TrackBacks also help readers of that Blog know that you have additional information on the subject in your blog.Although SOME people are fairly obsessive about their pings and want them anyway, so you may ping just to make them happy.
The main people you want to ping are the people who don't know you exist, so you can get on their radar. Also as a courtesy to the host, you should - if you enter a Carnival or link-fest - ping the round-up, just to let them know that their hard work was both noticed and appreciated. In summary: Trackbacks are a courtesy to the person you're linking, and not mandatory. If you have to do it manually, use the Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger. If they don't have trackbacks, you can leave a link in their comments. Trackbacks can bring you extra site traffic.
CAUTION: ONLY TRACKBACK WHEN YOUR POST IS RELEVANT TO THEIR POST. ONLY COMPLETE JERKS DO OFF-TOPIC "HEY! LOOK AT MY BLOG!" PINGS.
I agree with Harvey on this pointFor those using Haloscan comments, Contagion of Miasmatic Review has a simple bit of code that will make it easier for other people to send trackbacks to you.
Aaron blogged After almost nine months of blogging, there are still a lot of things I haven't figured out yet. One of the biggest is trackbacking. I was under the impression that trackbacking was something only Moveable Type users could do, but according to Harvey at Bad Example, even those of us still on Blogger can get in on the fun, too:
Well, you can go to Haloscan, which give you the code for installing the Trackback feature. It'll even set it up for you automatically if you have Blogger. Once you have it set up, you can log into Haloscan, fill out a form with some basic information, and send a trackback.Thanks Harvey, and if I got this right, you should be getting a trackback
Harvey did get your trackback, but you made an error when you pasted in your URL, so it was very difficult to track forward to your postB4B has a good solution for trackback spam. Other blogs have had good information on adding trackbacks and alternatives to trackback. I have included a number of the good ideas here, and have links to others.
Update April 20 11:00 See Wizbang for problems with the SpamLookup software for Moveable Type