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Is TweetBacks getting spammed already?


UPDATE:The author of the TweetBacks plug-in has been really quick to respond to this problem and after updating to the newest version of the plug-in (1.2) it looks like the problem may have been solved. If you have used a previous version you are advised to update to the newest one and in the settings for the plug-in clean out any past saved TweetBacks that may have been saved. Thanks to Joost for being so quick to respond.

Just a couple of days ago now Joost de Valk release what promised to be a really neat plug-in for WordPress powered blogs. It was called TweetBacks and the idea was pretty simple. For as long as there have been blogs there has been what they call Trackbacks. the idea is that when someone writes a post that links back to something I have written my blog post gets a ping and then records who wrote what and where. It was a way for bloggers; and our readers, to be able to see where else in the blogosphere someone is talking about the same thing.

What Joost figured out was that all those Twitter messages flying around with links to blog posts were the same kind of idea and like Trackbacks had value so did these Twitter trackbacks – or TweetBacks as he called them. Great idea and one that I implemented on my home blog thinking it would be a great way for people to share what I had written.

The problem with the original Trackbacks though was that they became the playground for spammers and it has gotten to the point that there is no value in them anymore. So it would seem is the same fate of TweetBacks.

I was hailed in IRC today by a friend who asked me what was with all funky error messages that were part of the TweetBacks on a post. As you can see by the graphic above in less than two days TweetBack has been hit by Twitter spammers. the post that the screen cap was taken from has about 30 plus bad TweetBack. But here’s the interesting thing just about all of them are from before the date I posted the post.

The really irritating thing is that because of the TweetBacks are stored in the database as comments I will have to go through and manually delete them all. The other problem is that even though they are stored as comments they don’t go through the normal spam checking that comments do.

Once more it seems we have a potentially really good tool for bloggers that like FF2Disqus was released too soon. In the meantime I have removed the plug-in and will be deleting those trackbacks. At the same time like FF2Disqus I am not sure if I’ll be so willing to give TweetBacks another try anytime soon.

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13 Responses to “Is TweetBacks getting spammed already?”

  1. Joost de Valk

    Hi Steven,

    first of all, you can delete all tweetbacks at once with the option on the settings panel. Second of all, it seems there's some undocumented rate limiting going on at a shorturl provider… My apologies for that, I'll look into it ASAP.


  2. Joost de Valk

    Sorry for leaving this comment on the wrong blog post, feel free to delete the other one:

    I think I've found the issue that caused your problem. Please update to version 1.2, clean up the database, including the shorturl's, from the settings panel, and try again, it shouldn't be giving you this kind of spam anymore.

  3. Matt Shaulis

    “released too soon” is unfair this day in age… not to mention “Early adopter-ish” type of tools are meant to be “released too soon” in order to get the most valuable feedback up front… not every developer has Google's R&D department and can mull application ideas around in private for eons while the idea is “perfected” for the critics. The guy got his stuff out there so you gotta give him credit for that. :)

  4. StevenHodson


    Upgraded the plugin and will see about cleaning up the bad links later today. Thanks very much for your quick response on this and just to be clear I do think this is a good idea and hopefully one that will stick around. I look forward to seeing it developed further.

  5. StevenHodson

    Matt .. to a certain extent you are correct. Early adopter do ask for this type of punishment :) but I still think that developers should look at doing longer private testing with a pool of trusted testers. It was a principal that sure didn't hurt pre-Web 2.0 developers at all.

    also I do think that Joost's idea is a good one or I wouldn't have been willing to try it in the first place – just think it needed a little more “private” time :)

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