According to Plasticbag’s Tom Coates, “trackback is dead.” I’m inclined to agree. If you’re not familiar with the concept, trackbacks are a sort of blog-to-blog automatic signalling system. If I mention your blog in mine, then your blog gets notified automatically and records that fact in a visible record. The result is that your downstream influence is made evident. Only it doesn’t work so well. Or rather, it works reasonably well, but is primarily exploited for spam. I’m turning off trackbacks for my site. It’s not much of a loss, since I only ever got a few trackbacks, but comments are also close to tipping over into the domain of not-worth-the-spam-hassle.
Mucking out the spam day after day is a noxious task. I kept thinking that spammers would eventually tire of buying new domain names pointing to still more Texas Hold’em poker sites, since the old ones are being continuously blacklisted. But no, they NEVER STOP. And they seem to be onto a new strategy that has me worried: the latest domain names are mild-looking places like feidenfurniture.com. My guess is that they are hacking into other people’s disused sites and using them as referral waypoints to their real sites. In other words, the domain names that I’m blacklisting day after day don’t even cost them anything. Which is to say, they can play this game forever, whereas I will eventually tire.
I’m switching to some stronger anti-spam filters. Hopefully it won’t cause my real friends and readers to be blocked. Please let me know if you have any problems posting comments.