Performancing Metrics

What Have You Done With Your Trackbacks?

Stop Trackbacks?I saw an interesting tweet fly by today from Ozh in which he offered advice to ditch the Trackbacks all together on a WordPress blog. Which got me to think, do we really need trackbacks or have the become just another version of spam most of you like to get rid of? The question has been on the minds of people for quite some time now, but with the recent outburst of trackback spam I think the question has become quite relevant again.

Ozh mentiones a few reasons why he ditched the trackbacks all together:

  • I get too much of them to have the time to check them all
  • They make ugly […]anchor links[…] in my comment moderation queue
  • A third (on my blog at least) are spam (mostly caught by Akismet hopefully)
  • And when they’re not spam, 95% of the time they come from a website I can’t understand because I don’t speak that language

Personally I don’t receive that much trackbacks on my own posts to the level that it has become a problem, but I do notice more and more sites turning them off and not displaying them anymore. Now, I can agree with Ozh that trackbacks certainly don’t look very nice, but by separating the comments from the trackback and only displaying the titles of the blogposts that placed a trackback you can still keep it relatively clean.

One thing I have done, is by using the plugin No Self Pings, is disable all internal trackbacks. I don’t see the point and if it’s relevance you’re after there a much more sophisticated solutions for that such as the wonderful YARPP plugin.

If trackbacks aren’t your thing the easiest way to do so is to disable the ability to allow trackbacks via your Discussion Settings, but I’m curious what you all think. Does it add value? Do you still allow trackbacks? Are you receiving a lot of spam?

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Comments

  1. brad ) says: 6/16/2010

    I never really fully embraced them. I don’t get a terrible amount and most of what I do get is spam, but it’s nice to know when another site does mention you so I rely on that in addition to a saved google search for the site name.

    But I almost never publish them. In fact, i don’t believe I do anymore. I used to do it when it came from a site that I knew and felt held a strong PR so to speak, but now it’s just not worth it to me.

    That said, I’ve become aware of a couple of sites that auto publish the trackbacks and have gotten me some traffic as a result, but I haven’t gotten to the point where I feel compelled to link them as much as possible for the bonus traffic… yet.

    Reply

    • Remkus de Vries ) says: 6/16/2010

      I’ve gotten some nice traffic too and also some great conversations due to trackbacks as well

      Reply

  2. Jeffro ) says: 6/16/2010

    I’ve come to the conclusion that trackbacks officially suck. They were good at first but there are so many people using them for bad rather than good that it makes sense to me to just disable them. I know others who have installed trackback validator plugins to combat the spam problem but I’m not willing to go that far.

    Not only did I notice most of the trackbacks I received were spam, but my site was denied service because of a flood of trackbacks from spam networks.

    http://www.wptavern.com/wptavern-was-trackbacked-to-death

    Trackbacks served their purpose in the early days of blogging, now it’s just an overused spam transport.

    Reply

    • Remkus de Vries ) says: 6/16/2010

      Yes Jeffro, your case may be the best example on why to disable them. No problems anymore since you disabled them?

      Reply

  3. Ipstenu ) says: 6/16/2010

    I have to agree with Ozh and WPTavern.

    I’ve gotten maybe … three that were useful, in 5 years. It’s one of those things that would be great to see who follows you and let your social network grow that way, but it just doesn’t work that way. I end up finding people who link back to me now via analytics tracking (like ‘Hey, why did my visitors from Joe.com spike 400% last week? Oh! Cool!’).

    Reply

    • Remkus de Vries ) says: 6/16/2010

      Only three.. that’s not a lot :( and yes, those trackback spammers are get worse …

      Reply

  4. Chris Clayton ) says: 6/16/2010

    trackbacks are always the first thing i disable – i dont like them at all.

    Reply

    • Remkus de Vries ) says: 6/16/2010

      Some clients I work for love them as they figure it’s a popularity thing, but I agree, they’re mostly a pain..

      Reply

  5. Ozh ) says: 6/16/2010

    I guess this depends on your content. Most of the trackbacks I got were on post about plugin releases, and the audience there is global so you get many foreign links which provide no added value if you can’t understand a word. On the contrary, I think on articles you get trackbacks that match the article language, for most.

    Reply

    • Remkus de Vries ) says: 6/16/2010

      So in that case the ideal setting would be to not turn it off globally, but on a per post setting? Seems like a hassle to me..

      Reply

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