I’m gradually beginning to work out what these things are for.
Some references: A Beginners Guide to TrackBack from the people at MovableType.
This description of How TrackBack Works was also one of the better ones found, although was rather painful to read because of the example they used (girls wouldn’t understand this though !!). Also read the Pingback Specs – if you wade through the techo detail, there is a lot of good information there – especially look at the example right down the bottom.
A guy by the name of Phil Ringnalda has some interesting things to say on the subject. One thing I think I’ve learned so far is that me just putting in a TrackBack to Phil’s page on this subject is probably not a good idea, since I’m not actually adding any value to Phil’s comments, nor does Phil know me from a bar of soap, so there’s no real point in having his blog refer people to my blog by submitting a TrackBack.
However, (if I understand this all correctly), since I have linked to Phil’s site in this post, and the “PingBack the URLs in this post” option is enabled, then at least a PingBack will be sent to Phil’s server, and if his server is set up to accept PingBacks, there will be a notification that I have linked to Phil’s site visible there. Naturally, he may delete that PingBack, but it’s there if he wants – and he knows that someone else has linked to his site.
Some other interesting views on TrackBack and PingBack by someone called Ryan Eby.
dnorman made the following comment in his blog, which I think is one of the most succinct and useful descriptions I’ve come across so far:
Where Trackback is “Here’s what I think of that…”, Pingback is more simply “I’m using that…” – a useful way to track activity
I think I’m starting to get the hang of this !
Yup, well I guess at the end of the day, people can link all they want… but if nobody ever clicks on the link to see where it goes and read the information at the other end, there was no point in notifying the other people about the link in the first place.
So I guess referrers are a good way to do it – at least then you know that someone has actually clicked on a link somewhere to view your page !
Phil Ringnalda says
Nope, no pingback, because I couldn’t convince Ben Trott (the author of Movable Type) that Pingback and TrackBack are complementary things with different purposes, so instead of implementing Pingback he devalued TrackBack by adding the option to autodiscover and autoping anything linked to in a post. So I make do with referrers instead. Not nearly as clean, since I may or may not get one from every possible URL that leads to your post (and for some people, that amounts to ten or so URLs for a single post), but as long as anyone clicks your link anywhere at least once, I’ll know you linked, and come over to say “yep, it sounds to me like you’re getting it perfectly.”