Monday, July 29, 2002

Tracking Referral Links

My mission – to find a way for you, loyal reader, to know who’s pointing to this site. Why bother? The real value of the weblog medium is its transparency – if you’re reading this stuff, I can guarantee you there are at least a dozen others out there talking about similar issues. And wouldn’t you like to know who they are?

Sure, there’s the blogroll on the right. But that’s like Yahoo – you don’t know the good from the bad. Wouldn’t it be better to know who was pointing back to me – those are the people who are presumably indicating that they found something useful here.

There are already examples of this out there. Movable Type (a competing weblog application) has TrackBack – though David Watson indicates that he’s got it working with Radio, it’s a one-way link for me to notify other sites that I’ve linked to them. That’s not what I want: I want to know who’s linking to me, so I can share that info with you.

Some promising leads:

  • Stephen’s Referrals. I almost had this working earlier today, then ran into a snag with my provider’s support of PERL and CGI. Anyone care to lend a hand debugging? This is the closest to what I want.
  • Simpler implementation from Stephen’s ( doesn’t require any CGI), but isn’t yet working on my site. Doesn’t include counts of recent visitors – just compiles links of referrals.

There are others, but they appear to require either PHP (an environment I have zero experience in) or server side includes (SSI, also something I haven’t monkeyed with). I think with a little effort I can make one of the two work.

Question – will this add any value? Anyone else interested in seeing this work in Radio? (Wouldn’t a Radio macro be ideal?)

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