What’s with “Link Dumping” and Invisible Advertising?

I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds. I have noticed a bit of a change lately and I am not sure I like it. I am not sure if it is because people are stuck for things to write about in their blogs or they are just using a new feature. But what I am seeing is the practice of “link-dumping” getting a bit out of control. It is almost RSS spam.

Every other post that some bloggers are doing is just a list of links. While these links are usually related to del.icio.us or something similar and related to their area of interest and maybe mine. I just do not see the point. I am not really that interested in what they have bookmarked for the week or day. In addition if I was interested in what people are bookmarking I can always subscribe to their del.icio.us feed. As this is usually the tag that is added. Why cross post their links on their blog and del.icio.us?

It does seem like an excuse to post rather than something useful to say. I realise that they think they are providing their listeners with useful information or curious content, I would rather no post than a “link dump” thanks. It would seem that the proverbial social bookmarking phenomenon is taking over the world.

Something else that angered me this week was a nasty trick that some RSS feeds seem to be employing. It might be an error but it has occur more than once and I am starting to think it a ploy. What has been occurring is “invisible” adverts. In other words an embedded ad that you can not see but if you hover over it there is a link there in the feed-reader screen display. I think that for most the temptation to click would outweigh leaving it alone. While there is nothing wrong with clicking the ad – who wants to? In addition yesterday I accidentally clicked one and I was so annoyed at myself for doing it. But perhaps they are banking on that too.

Adverts in RSS was always going to happen but when companies try to trick people into clicking their ads I believe that to be wrong and uncalled for. The best way in my opinion to combat this as users is to not click anything, make the ploy ineffectual or boycott the feed until they shape up. I don’t mind the advertising but please lets be sensible and abstain from trickery and nasty ploys of entrapment.

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2 Responses to “What’s with “Link Dumping” and Invisible Advertising?”

  1. Bman Says:

    I agree completely about the link dumping thing. Links are fun and interesting, but they’re not in any way a substitute for a blog post and shouldn’t be used as such. On my first homepage – many moons ago – I had a page full of links. Then I realized how stupid it was to have a page full of links that go to sites with more pages full of links that go to sites with more pages full of links… At that point, I decided not to do links pages ever again.

    Another reason the linkdumps are kind of stupid is that I don’t subscribe to someone’s blog just so they can tell me what other people are saying. I subscribe to a blog to hear what THEY are saying, and linkdump posts completely fail at that.

  2. Bman Says:

    Incidentally, that’s also the same reason I can’t stand it when people play music (as in, full songs) right in the middle of their podcasts. I don’t subscribe to anyone’s show to hear the crappy music they like (that’s what music podcasts are for), I subscribe to the show to hear them talk, because I think they have interesting things to say. Every second they spend NOT providing the content I can only get at their show – their own voice – makes their show less valuable and worthwhile to me.


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