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What Is a Pingback?

Using a pingback began when web authors noticed problems with trackback.
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  • Written By: Traci Behringer
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2014
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A pingback is one of three types of linkbacks. A linkback is a way that an author of a blog can ask for notification when someone else links directly to his or her blog post page or his or her document. Various different blogging software offers automatic pingback when a web author sets up his or her own place in the blogosphere.

Linkbacks, in general, began when people felt there was no authority in commenting on blogs. After all, anybody could use a false name. Similarly, they could post anything without any verification regarding claims of who they are. This lead to developing a trackback, which allows notification without an explicit web address, or Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

Using a pingback began when web authors noticed problems with trackback. To sidestep these problems, pingbacks are drastically different from their counterpart. For starters, pingback software uses XML-RPC technology, and trackback software uses HTTP-POST technology. Furthermore, pingbacks don't actually send content.

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A pingback can be considered a remote comment. A web author can publish a blog post, and another blog owner can write a blog post about it in which he or she links to the original post. If both blogs use pingbacks, this will prompt the second blog to notify the first blog owner of the link. This prompts the first blog to automatically visit the second post, verify that the link is there, then post a comment on the original blog showing that it was mentioned elsewhere.

This comment on the first blog is simply a link to the other blog, so viewers can verify that is where the blog is linked. Using this method, any editorial control over the blog posts solely rests with the author of the post. If the author had used trackback, the person who received the trackback would be free to edit the excerpt content posted in the comment. Pingbacks offer a certain level of authority, because it requires verification of the other person's blog post.

There is certain debate within the blogosphere regarding which linkback method is superior to the other. Some people feel that using trackback is better because it prints an excerpt of the post, allowing viewers to read it and decide whether they want to read further. Other feel that pingback is better because it requires passing verification, proving that there is an actual connection between the two posts.

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