You may have also discovered a surge in trackback spam recently as autoblogging software is being used by more and more spammers to reach out and cull RSS feeds. This phenomenon has led to many disabling trackbacks, or raising the “blacklist” level so high that you might never see some trackbacks again. Or, as some newer remotely-hosted commenting technologies like IntenseDebate and Disqus show, they simply do not show trackbacks because of the spam problem.
[As an aside, that's not to say that they will never implement it; I have it on good account that Disqus will probably implement it as soon as they *can* find a way to clean up the spam-detecting components in the trackback issue.]
The problem is that in my own blogging success, I have found trackbacks to be instrumental.
Back when I was starting outas a blogger I really only did a couple things to grow my blog. I wrote consistently. And I linked aggressively out to other blogs in my community … consistently. What ended up happening was that people noticed my blog (and started linking to Deep Jive Interests) as a result. Water, prune, and grow said relationships and here I am.
In fact, one of my own strategies was to use the del.icio.us auto-post thingy, where every night it would auto-post to my blog about my favourite blogs / posts / news that day, with — obviously — a link to those blogs.
So, where am I getting at?
I think that trackbacks made it a _lot_ easier for those blogs to *know* that I was writing about them. And more importantly, it made _other_ people who read that blog know that I was participating in the conversation.
And getting people to know about _your_ blog … well, isn’t that one of the cardinal things about marketing your blog should be about?
There’s a lot to be said for “comment marketing”, and that’s valid (you know, where you leave comments consistently on other authority-blogs to achieve a certain mindshare of your own). However, I would argue is that if you have the time, use this rule of thumb:If you spend more than 5 minutes writing a comment — and particularly if its even marginally astute — take the same 5 minutes to write that into a pithy post. It creates *easy* content for your blog. It creates a sense that your blog *is* one of “those” blogs who are are participating in your niche in the blogosphere. And lastly, it makes your blog stand out on the hosting blog if they are publishing trackbacks.
Many people have set up trackbacks so it actually publishes your blog’s title. People can see the name of your blog *on* the original blog. If you’re just commenting they’ll just see your first name (unless you’re using your blog’s name — but that’s just not cool … I mean its asking for your name, right?). Secondly, the number of trackbacks to *actual* comments is usually very low. On highly commented blogs, you _may_ find they separate trackbacks first (before comments), and secondly, the actual number of published trackbacks is usually low compared to the number of comments.
More chance for you to stand out to get noticed. Or, it will if you do it consistently.
Which is all the more sad that trackbacks are getting overloaded from a signal-to-noise ratio from spam. I think they potentially provide a very valuable toehold into a blogging community for beginning bloggers. And I would suggest that although they are a huge nuisance to the blogger and blog that is hosting the conversation because of the inbound spam, it is still worthwhile to the blogger who wants to participate in the conversation.
And that’s the point.
Its still worthwhile for *you* to use your blog to participate in the blogging conversation.