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Blogs as Viral Marketing: TrackBack & Pingback

08/08/04 | by JAdP | Categories: Information Mangement, Business Perspective, Business Life

Blogs can be a great form of viral marketing. Why? The functions in web logs that separate them from a bulletin board or discussion forum and allow blogs to intermesh. Specifically, I'm referring to TrackBacks and Pingbacks. What are these functions, how do they work, and why do they allow blogs to be non-intrusive viral marketing tools?

TrackBack is an open specification, first released in August 2002. It is a protocol that can be easily implemented in any web logging tool. The TrackBack ping (a machine-to-machine messaging system between webservers) allows discussion threads to be connected between web logs. One example of this would be a TrackBack notifying one webserver when a response or comment to a post in a blog on that webserver has been posted in another blog on another (or the same) webserver. Another example is where an aggregation site collects posts on a single topic, such as reviews or announcements about a product or service, and notify those people who are interested in that item.

You can learn more about TrackBack from "TrackBack Explanation" by Mena and Ben Trott.

Pingback is simlar in concept (linking blogs) but different from TrackBack. From the PingBack 1.0 specification abstract: "Pingback is a method for web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents. Typically, web publishing software will automatically inform the relevent parties on behalf of the user, allowing for the possibility of automatically creating links to referring documents." A pingback is tranparent to the authors of a blog (bloggers), depending on how the protocol has been implemented. Essentially, the web logging software allows any link in a post to pingback (notify) the webserver and web logging software supporting the original post, allowing the original post to create a link to the referring post.

This makes for a far better form of viral marketing than email, especially as it is unlikely to be considered spam. After all, the person receiving/reading a blog that is linked through TrackBack or Pingback to the original blog, is already interested in the product, service or subject matter. They have chosen to read more. The intermeshing of related blogs can expand exponentially throughout the blogosphere. This radically expands the number of people who know about you, your expertise, your product or service. Explosive viral marketing!

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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