Opinion

Why the trackback spammers are winning

Today I’ve reluctantly made a change to Mumbrella’s comment moderation policy – it’s as a result of trackback spam.  

Previously, our comment thread allowed trackbacks – that is, an indication to readers of what other sites are linking to a specific posting.

Trackbacks are a usueful way of finding out what others are saying about a particular topic. Where smaller sites link to larger sites, it can be a handy way of getting discovered. Unfortunately, the spammers know this too. So bogus sites send out links in the hope that punters will follow the fake links and deliver some cheap page impressions.

And although the WordPress Akismet software is pretty good at weeding out spam comments, it’s less effective at blocking trackback spam. In recent weeks the volume has grown too.

So reluctantly, I have disabled showing trackbacks.

It’s with some regret, as trackbacks are a valuable part of link culture and useful for finding material you otherwise may not.

But for now at least, the benefits no longer outweigh the dsiavantages.

Tim Burrowes

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