If you’re just starting a WordPress blog, you may be in the dark about those comments you get that are pings. Do you delete them, approve them, or just ignore them and hope they go away?
A ping or pingback (trackback) is a way for the authors of other blogs to leave comments without visiting your blog. These pingbacks or trackbacks are citations of articles found on other blogs. When a blogger cites an article from another site in his own articles, this is a ping, and it allows online conversations to be easily maintained among various site users and websites.
A technical definiton: a ping is a packet of information, a program, that allows a computer to send a request to another computer somewhere else on the network or the Internet in order to determine if the computer exists and is responding. It pings to a specific address and waits for the appropriate response, like a submarine sonar that makes a sound when it bounces off physical objects.
What To Do
Hit Delete, and it goes away. Hit Accept, and it gets posted as a comment. In the case of Pings, “it” is the URL from which the ping originated. The URL link takes you to where your article URL is posted on the other website. Also, you’ll see the domain name, and you can run a whois check if you wish.
Some people spend a lot of time checking the site that originated the Ping. They want to know the PageRank of the site, the credibility of the domain, the Alexa rank, the identity of the blogger, what the profile information says, etc.
That’s a lot of time spent researching something as simple as a Ping. Of course, their concern is that they may be posting pingback spam, but I guess I value the time spent in researching more than the possibility that I might get listed by Bad Neighborhood for having pingback spam on my websites.
In fact, when I was first getting acquainted with pings, I spent nearly 2 hours trying to find a link on this blog that they said qualified me as a bad neighbor. It was some link to an Amazon product, and I never could find the post where the bad link was located. If you read this blog often, you know that I review a lot of books, DVDs, etc. With more than 700 posts on this blog, finding 1 bad link is like looking for the old needle in the haystack. That’s when I decided this was just another time suck that would make you crazy if you obsessed about it.
I adopted the sane policy of clicking the trackback, taking a quick look at the website that had posted the link to my blog post, and immediately either clicking Approve or Delete. I Approve just about anything except sites that conflict with my stated Editorial Policy, i.e., Adult content etc.
Knock Yourself Out
If you want to obsess though, visit Bad Neighborhood or OneCoolSite. You can check any of the popular PageRank sites if that’s a concern and Google the site owner if you’re really interested.
Be reasonable, and beware the time sucks that steal away your day.