Cover image for post Trackbacks everywhere

Trackbacks everywhere

I fully agree with Sebastian who wrote in "On Blogs, Portals and Conference Websites" about something which I would count to the category "semantic web". Sebastian says, it would be a good idea for (e.g.) portal websites to implement trackback APIs. The benefit for you is to be able to comment on a story of that portal in your own weblog.

But I even see more benefit in that. The usual structure of the web is unidirectional, which means, that a klick onto a link is in most cases a one-way-road. Sure, you can hit back to revisit the last website, but there's no connection from a link target to the link source. The trackback technology implements links in a bidirectional way, if someone publishes a link, another link to his entry is provided at the link target.

I think there are many more application areas for trackbacking. Imagine a shop that implements it for it's products. If someone writes a realted article, this is directly available as a kind of "review". Imagine a product website of a manufaturer, where automatically reviews, tipps and anything imaginable around the product is linked.

In general, I like the idea to have trackbacks more distributed in the web. The idea of bidirectional linking is cool.


One problem I see with trackbacks is what often becomes the duplication of content, or/and unnessesary linkage.

I read this on Sebastians weblog first, I left a comment and then saw your trackback and come over here. You may bring up a topic that he didn't, so I leave a comment here as well. Now I don't really want to carry on this conversation on two different weblogs, as inevitably the content would overlap.

Now the second scenario is if I as a blogger don't have anything new to say. If this is the case then I shouldn't use a trackback, but leave a comment on the originating weblog saying that you agree, and then I can put an entry on my own blog pointing to the originating site.

What would be cool would be to have a "Trackback Explorer" type of app, which tracks the trackbacks and organizes the different "conversations" into a threaded view.

Aaron Wormus at 2004-09-13

Another problem is the inevitable misuse of trackbacks by spammers. Also, in the case of products, corporations, governments, etc., these entities generally have an external link policy that keeps them from allowing off-site links to just anybody. And, after all, why would they want links to potentially bad reviews showing up in their trackback listing?

I think the trackback is a great idea, but I don't think we're going to see it implemented in many places other than blogs and news sites, both of which tend to place emphasis on community, hence the popularity of the trackback.

Ben Ramsey at 2004-09-16

und nu weiss ich immer noch nich, wie trackbacks praktisch anzuwenden sind... :) kannst du nix zu... nur eine anmerkung, weil ich wie wild eine anleitung im web suche... bislang erfolglos... nettes blog-script übrigens... ;) gruss yoda

Yoda at 2004-11-08