At work I was asked to check-out a widget called WhoLinked that tracks and publishes recent backlinks to your site, so I placed it in the bottom right column of this blog. The good news is that the set-up is easy, gives you some choice, and the widget works well enough.

The bad news? It's covert spam.

At the bottom of the list of links is an innocent little tag
"What is this?" You might think it was a link to WhoLinked with an informational bit. Instead there's a small drop-down that includes a random link to eBay. Wait, there's more. The affiliate link is cloaked and disabling
java gives a spammy page (http://kqzfj.com/, which had an additional redirect to junk).

So what? you say, there's no free lunch. Yes, but it's a sneaky isn't it? WhoLinked doesn't mention on their site that advertisements or farmed links are part of the deal (which I'm sure many would accept even if it were explicit).

"What's This?" A spam sucker, apparently. You can see I've kept the tag--partly so I can track its changes but mostly because I like the little tracker. They may be monetizing with sneaky tactics, but at least its not visually offensive. Even Micro Persuasion and others like it. Even Blogscoped mentioned it.

I still think it's a brash spam stunt.
Is it just me?

In fact, WhoLinked might also be falsely claiming a CNet Review Award for 2005 --and several other eminent tech medals. The CNet award banner, for one, is easily downloadable. The award medals are placed on WhoLinked without comment. A search for WhoLinked on CNet, PC magazine produced no results. Hmmm...


Anonymous said...

I love WhoLinked. I see no spam. It's a free service. It works great on my site and performs a service for me with asking for payment. Tell me what is wrong with that? Oh yeah - capitalism. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Our website had a good traffic bump after we put in wholinked even though we are in india. i highly recommend it to all with blogs especially. If you have link already to other sites then they can show your links in their wholinked box and you get more traffic there too - PB

Thex D'Nealian, PhD said...

What are you talking about? It says on the WhoLinked site that they are advertising-supported. And now you are complaining about their advertising link.