Refback

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A Refback is one of three types of Linkbacks, methods for Web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking to, or referring to their articles.

A Refback is simply the usage of the HTTP referer header to discover incoming links. Whenever a browser traverses an incoming link from Site A (originator) to Site B (receptor) the browser will send a Referer header indicating the URL from where the user came. Site B might publish a link to Site A after visiting Site A and extracting relevant information from Site A such as the title, meta information, the link text, and so on.

Refback only requires Site B to be Refback enabled in order to establish this communication. Refback requires Site A to physically link to Site B. Refback also requires browsers to traverse the links.

Security issues

If the referred-to site does not validate the referring site URL, it may be subject to Referer spam (due to forged Referer headers) and may end up with links to dynamic web content and private web sites, such as web-based e-mail.

See also

  • Linkback, the suite of protocols that allows websites to manually and automatically link to one another.
  • Pingback, a similar protocol but more difficult as it requires for physical links
  • Trackback, a similar protocol but more prone to SPAM
  • Search engine optimization

External links

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