When writing a blog post I place links to relevant sources and material. I choose my links carefully and they represent what I think fits the topic best.
Trackback is an intentional way of notifying other blogs because WordPress requires you to manually enter the blog’s trackback link. It also allows you to send a notification to another blog even if you don’t explicitly link to them in the post. This may be done in an attempt to include the other blog in the conversation. On top of that trackbacks may be considered “the real letters of recommendation on the web.” However, with the increasing disappearing of a visible trackback link is it still a popular feature?
Only three years after the invention of trackback Tom Coates declared that it “has been killed by spam and by spammers.” Tony Hung recently posed the question if Trackbacks Become Too Spammy To Be Worthwhile? and addressed how, despite of the burdens of spam, trackbacks helped him to participate in the discussion and to get his blog noticed.
As a relatively new blogger I initially did not know the exact difference between trackback and pingback until I read the ‘WordPress Trackback Tutorial.’ After reading the article I discovered that I had never actually used the trackback feature and mainly relied on pingback. I have become so used to pingback that I have taken linking and linking notification methods for granted.
Pingback was designed to answer some of the flaws of trackback:
horrible internationization support, bad auto-discovery, proclivity for spamming, no verification, historical baggae of category junk, bad spec. Fix all these and you get… pingback. (Mullenweg)
In contrast to the manual trackback, pingback is fully automatic. WordPress is automatically enabled to send a ping notification to the links in my blogpost. If the other blog is enabled to receive pingbacks the link will usually be displayed in the comment section. While I consciously link to other blog posts I also unconsciously comment on them by sending a pingback.
That I do not use trackbacks is not a matter of being lazy. I don’t mind spending an extra few minutes to look up the trackback link and send the blog a manual notification. It was simply a matter of not knowing the difference between trackback and pingback. I have become so accustomed to the easy and automatic notification method of pingback that it is hard to incorporate a “new” and manual method in my blogging routine.
Do you send manual notifications in the form of trackbacks to other blogs? Or do you rely mainly on automatic pingbacks? Do you have a particular reason for not using one or the other?
Anne is a New Media Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She participates as a blog researcher in the newly found Digital Methods Initiative of the University of Amsterdam. Anne also writes about blogging and academics on her personal blog and the collaborative Masters of Media blog.