Wednesday, April 06, 2005


James Joyner blogged Dean Esmay is getting sufficiently tired of trackback spam that he's considering doing away with the feature altogether. Kathy Kinsley has more or less cured that problem at OTB, although I still get dozens of e-mails to delete that are autogenerated by the spamming attempt.

Dean asks an interesting question: "How many of you out there actually follow trackbacks?"

My guess is that few non-bloggers do, whereas most bloggers do. Certainly, trackbacks are invaluable as a means of networking within the blogosphere and a key way for up-and-coming sites to get noticed. As a reader-blogger, I find myself more irritated with sites that lack trackbacks (or don't make the trackback URL easy to find) than with sites lacking a comment feature.

Matt (Matt's Blog)commented Aside from my first thing in the morning reads, I use trackbacks almost exclusively to surf. If you only use your blogroll, you’ll never find anything new.

I commented I certainly follow trackbacks, to find additional blogs that address a particular subject. I particularly like them when I am blogging an item on my blog, so that I can quote what other bloggers have thought about the same topic. If I quote a blog and if it offers a TrackBack, I also attempt to do a trackback to my blog’s entry so the quoted blogger can see if I have quoted him correctly.

I hope that you will continue trackbacks.

Dean Esmay blogged I'm seriously considering disabling trackbacks. Dean's World gets something on the order of a hundred trackback spams a day. While the fine folks at Powerblogs have added a filtering feature, it's still a grind to have to ban so many trackbacks a day.

How many of you out there actually follow trackbacks?

Chris Short blogged I know I sure do and I get tons of trackback spam too.

I decided to do some research about TrackBack Spam

Photo Matt blogged The flood of truly vile Trackback spam today sadly confirms what I was worried about months ago: if we lock down commenting (with things like WP Hashcash and Typekey) it’ll just push them to Trackback. All the captcha in the world won’t fix Trackback. Our last line of defense is the content-based filters like Spam Karma, Spaminator, and Three Strikes.

Hermann commented Rather than trackback moderation I think this calls for Pingback

Matt commented WordPress, of course, supports Pingback. Obviously we need a way to deactivate trackbacks but leave pingbacks on.

Sparticus commented How is pingback different from trackback with advanced moderation that’s defaulted to off? If you’ve got pingback to notify you by e-mail (which you logically would have) then it looks like a pretty sweet way of getting spam back into e-mails.

Richard@Home (his blog) commented I’m currently beta testing some automatic anti trackback spam (I get thousands a day) on my blog.
So far so good. Not ONE has got through :-) I’ll be blogging the results (and the code) sometime (hopefully) in the next week.

Jonas M Luster commented One of the things, I find intrigueing about Drupal, is the fact that it handles trackbacks just like most other content submissions, and therefore allows its users to apply the same bayesian filter pool to them. had a fair bit of trackback spams lately, and all but one got caught in the SPAM filter. Another idea would be to parse the sending URL for an occurence of the trackbacked string.

Todd commented I actually went a couple steps further… I tracked down the trackback spammers to their hosts and ISP’s and reported them, logging everything they were doing and every IP# they were using and bugging the crap out of the hosts and ISP’s until something was done.

Lo and behold, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of 5 trackback spammers that were abusing the priviledge severely. Sucking up my bandwidth hasn’t been an issue for the past month after this phenomena had been happening to my blog. I may be going to extremes, but it works instead of going in and fiddling with any code.

I have even e-mailed them pretty much threatening them with reporting them to their ISP’s and hosts and getting such nice letter asking me to e-mail them URL’s so I can get off the lists so my site isn’t spidered. I have usually reported them anyway, so it makes no difference to me, but they can get real nice, real fast when you play hardball. ;)

Tom Keating commented I was hit with 2 trackbacks from a WordPress blogger that reference similar content on his blog, but when I checked to see if my blog’s link was there, it was not.

He probably entered in a manual ping to my blog and didn’t put my URL in. But I wonder if someone could do automate this to try and make it appear like a legitimate trackback.

For example:
1) I write about Skype in my blog
2) A blogger (who spams) also writes a blog about Skype.
3) Blogger spammer does a Google query on “Skype” and pings all the URLs listed in the search query using the excerpt of his “Skype” blog entry, so it appears legit.
4) Blogger gets trackback “links” that appear to be legitimate, but he doesn’t “reciprocate” the link.

Perhaps this has even happened already or is happening? If so, that makes it much more difficult to find the trackback spam.


p.s. Hope I haven’t given the spammers any ideas! LOL!

See also Learning Movable Type: Trackback Spam, Fighting Trackback Spam (WordPress users), WordPress Support, ScriptyGoddess, MT Blacklist.

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