November 19, 2006

Technorati’s link count widget

Filed under: — 3:59 am

I’ve never been a big fan of the trackback system. Its use is confusing and inconsistent among weblogs, and the group with the largest motivation to take advantage of it are spammers. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s still so widely supported—trackbacks are enabled on all posts by default in the latest WordPress and even on hosted weblogs.

To avoid hundreds of spam trackbacks a day—which cannot be reliably filtered, period, no matter what anyone says—I don’t allow trackbacks on any of my sites.

Meanwhile, Technorati has released a link count widget for weblogs. This is a very easy way to include a link that displays “blog reactions,” or posts elsewhere linking to the current post. You can see it at the bottom of this post next to the “Comments” link.

This is an ideal replacement for trackbacks—it keeps the links at Technorati, which has professionals to deal with spam, rather than on my sites, and it serves the purposes of enabling discussion across weblogs and enabling weblog authors to brag about how many links they’re getting. It would be perfect if not for two flaws:

  • If there are no links to a post, it displays a generic “View blog reactions” link, which appears not to be customizable. This is unfortunate for those of us who have less popular weblogs, since the link is usually useless. I’d much rather have the link disappear until there’s a “reaction” to link to.
  • Technorati’s database is a jumbled, inconsistent mess that cannot be counted upon to reliably report links. That’s a topic for another day, though, and I’m hopeful that they’ll improve with time.

Despite these issues, it’s still better than Trackback. Goodbye, Trackback, and good riddance.

(c) 2001-2007 Michael Moncur. All rights reserved, but feel free to quote me.
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