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Trackback Off

June 16th, 2006

So much for that failed blog element. Trackbacks are supposed to be an automated linking system between blogs that refer to each other. Say if Blog A has an interesting post, and the author of Blog B writes his own entry which refers to Blog A, complete with a link. When Blog B publishes this entry, his blog software will send a “trackback ping” to Blog A, informing him of the reference. Blog A will often catch this ping and automatically make a link right back to Blog B within the original entry’s comment section. A nice idea–you link to me, I link back to you, we know we’re talking about each other. Community. Cooperation. Swell.

The problem: spam. What else? Now, maybe once a month, at most, I get a genuine trackback ping. In that same time period, I get tens of thousands of fake trackback pings from spammers (called “spings“). What’s more, these fake pings show up in my referrals (AwStats, not Google Analytics) and make a further hash of the numbers beyond what referral spam does. It got so bad that after my spam logs got so flooded that it caused a server error and I had to purge the database, within a half an hour, 114 more trackback spams had started filling it back up again. It got to the point where comment spam was beginning to look like a minor annoyance.

Mind you, the filters were working–no trackbacks were getting through. But I have no real use for trackbacks anyway, so I got a special utility and closed off all the trackbacks for all the entries in the entire blog, and then I switched off the trackback script. And good riddance.

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  1. Paul
    June 16th, 2006 at 04:15 | #1

    I just started getting trackback spam the other day. Thus far, Akismet is catching them all, but I’ll have to turn them off soon as well just to save the hassle.

    I never really thought they were worth very much anyway, to be honest.

    Seattle, WA

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