inessential by Brent Simmons

Primitive Trackbacks

Before trackbacks and Technorati, webloggers relied on referers. If you want to see who’s linking to you, you looked at your logs, or your referers page if you have one.

So one of the habits I got into in my early days as a weblogger was to always click on all the links on my weblog. This way I was assured of sending at least one referer from my weblog to the pages I link to.

You could call it a primitive form of trackbacks.

The thing I’ve noticed is that many people don’t do it. Via Technorati I find sites that link to me that I didn’t get a referer for.

But I’m more likely to notice a link if I get a referer for it. And I suspect many webloggers are the same way. (Not that Technorati isn’t immensely valuable; it is.)

So... what I’m trying to say is it’s a good habit. When you link to something, click on the link, that way you’ll know you sent at least one referer. That way, what you wrote is more likely to be seen by whoever you linked to.

(By the way, it occurs to me that weblog editors could consider adding this as a feature. It could be automated. I’m not sure what I think of that: there’s something not-quite-right about automating referers.)