I don’t mind telling you, there is a downside to finally getting your blog a page rank. Trackback Spam. And yes, I have written before about the wonderful way to get inbound links to your blog using Trackback’s, but this isn’t what I meant.
Leave it to spammers to take a perfectly good, innocent and well thought out tool and corrupt it.
Trackback Spam verses Legitimate Trackback’s
There is a difference. Trackback spam is the automated crap that crawls the web looking for sites with Page Rank, and one word that matches their needs. Hell, I don’t even think the one word is a requirement. Once found, the bot inserts a “trackback” into your blog by spoofing the blog into believing a post on their blog linked to it.
WordPress’ feature of linking back to the blog that linked to it (a mutually beneficial reciprocal link) triggers and viola, the spammer has a link to their blog. All those links add up. Their page rank increases (until Google figures out how to detect this) and the spammers win again.
It’s Time To Fight Back Against Trackback Spam
I know, as a blogger, you want those precious inbound links so people can find you. You want to be courteous and link back to those that link to you. But really, the spammers are making it really hard to have the legitimate links without sending everything to moderation and manually reviewing them before allowing them to post.
I found a cool new plugin (what else!?) that will help you in the fight against trackback spam. It’s called Simple Trackback Validation and it works to identify this type of spam and eliminate it. Just want a little help identifying the potential spammers, you can dial it back a little.
When a trackback is received on your blog, this plugin:
- Checks if the IP address of the trackback sender is equal to the IP address of the webserver the trackback URL is referring to.
This reveals almost every spam trackback (more than 99%) since spammers do usually use bots which are not running on the machine of their customers.
- Retrieves the web page located at the URL included in the trackback. If the page doesn’t link to your blog, the trackback is considered to be spam. Since most trackback spammers do not set up custom web pages linking to the blogs they attack, this simple test will quickly reveal illegitimate trackbacks. Also, bloggers can be stopped abusing trackback by sending trackbacks with their blog software or webservices without having a link to the post.
So, if you are experiencing higher than usual trackback spam thanks to your blog’s growing popularity, take a minute to download and install Simple Trackback Validation to make managing your blog a little easier.
You can thank me later. No really, stop by and and let me know how it works for you! =)