Published 2005-02-02 11:51:09

Seeing Davey's missery, and Sebastian's / Kristian's fixes to Serendipity to stop trackback spamming. I struck me that perhaps trackbacks combined with blog spammers are always going to be a disaster waiting to happen.

The concept is quite nice, being able to see related articles, when reading a blog, but the trackback concept is a little too trusting, unless you want to go in and moderate trackbacks.

It inspired me however to hack up a smart referer log for my blog entries. (visit the site to find out more..)
Referers suffer the same problem that trackbacks do, spammers love sticking their url in the referer of their spambots, and end up making your nice referer statistics useless. Along with helping their search rating if you happen to render them to the web page.

So I hacked up a little code last night to my blog entries that logs referrers (into a hacked version of serendipities referrer table). And rather than just outputting it, it verifies that the page does actually refer to me.

In principle, it should check withing the first hour to see if it does. If it finds my url on that web page, it flags it as confirmed, then 30 days later it will check again.
If the page doesnt contain my url, it will check rougly once a day for 10 days, then delete the referer (meanwhile it never appears on the page.)

It also emails me if the referer is confirmed. (which caused a bit of a problem last night as I forgot to check the hacked referrer schema and ended up emailing myself 5000 notifications of the same link.)

Anyway it's up and going now - under "Mentioned by" at the bottom of each entry, quite interesting to see what google sends my way.

It also made me realize I'll have to start using the extended body, to actually see where I'm getting readers from, otherwise most people read the whole thing on the aggregators.

Mentioned By: : february ( referals) : PHP check referrer ( referals) : PHP check referer ( referals) : php referer check ( referals) : php referer ( referals) : php referrer ( referals) : check referer php ( referals) : php trackbacks ( referals) : php referrer check ( referals) : - ( referals) : Trackback Spam - Sebastian Bergmann ( referals) : check referrer php ( referals) : Trackbacks ... ( referals) : december ( referals) : referer check ( referals) : check referer ( referals) : referer check php ( referals) : referrer check ( referals) : Check referrer in PHP ( referals) : referrer check php ( referals)


Instead of using extended entry..
You could try using images, a la the Peanuts RSS feed.

A lot of feed readers (bloglines for one) will display that image; so you can just track that.

There would also be the possibility of using a non-full text RSS feed so you wouldn't have to remember to use the extended entry portion just to view where people are coming from.
#0 - david ( Link) on 2005-02-02 13:12:18 Delete Comment
Referal as a means of Trackback auto-verification
I was thinking a little about this last week.

I see two problems with trackback:

1) lack of verification. There is no check to go and see if there really is a publically accessible page that refers to the document that has been trackbacked.

2) lack of failover. If a single HTTP trackback request is lost in the ether, it will never be captured. With email, most SMTP servers continue sending a message for a set period of time before giving up. Trackback is all or nothing.

I think that the referer check that you have could be extended to do both verification as well as reverse trackback discovery.

#1 - Jackson ( Link) on 2005-02-03 06:14:36 Delete Comment

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