« Previous | Ain't too proud to blog | mail it | Next »

Posted: 08.11.2002
P.S. We should be together, too.
Earlier last week I quoted a passage from "The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog" by Rebecca Blood. Here's another interesting one to put up for discussion from Chapter 6 on "Weblog Community and Etiquette" under "Things to Avoid":

ASKING FOR A LINK: Every so often I receive an e-mail that says, "Hi, please add my weblog to your portal page." Or worse, "Hi, I am interested in trading links with you. Please confirm that you have added me to your site so that I can add you to mine." What?

Yes I know that many "experts" will advise you to trade links with others in order to increase traffic to your site, but in the weblog community an email like this is very bad form. Think about it: Almost all of us maintain our weblogs for free, in our spare time. Our only payment is traffic to our sites. More to the point, our reputations are built largely on the quality of the links we provide to our readers, especially in the case of filters. Maintainers of blog-style sites are just as motivated to protect their hard-earned credibility by pointing their readers, when they do link, only to sites that genuinely reflect their taste...

...In contrast with telling another weblogger that you admire their work, I think it's iffy to write suggesting that they would enjoy yours. Well, they might, but chances are they already have looked at your weblog if you have linked to them. If they haven't linked you, they might be waiting to see if you make it past the one-month or two-month mark...

Putting another weblogger in the awkward position of having to turn you down or ignore your request may make her feel guilty. Since guilt is based on the worry that one is not a good person, your note may make the weblogger whose attention you hope to attract feel vaguely bad about herself. Because none of these feelings originate with her own actions, the weblogger will quickly transform this vaguely bad feeling about herself to a vaguely bad feeling about you. If your goal is to gain allies in the weblog world, putting others in an uncomfortable position is poor strategy.

Sooooo...let's blow that hornets nest wide-open shall we? How do you feel about this? (And please don't write with apologies if you've written me asking for a link in the past. This is not my writing, but rather Rebecca Blood's. I have been known to tease certain bloggers into linking me once upon a time myself.) But I get a few e-mails a week now from people asking to be added to my link list. I do agree with Rebecca somewhat on the guilt feelings. Although I don't really take it to the second level mentioned above and then transfer 'bad feelings' onto the blogger who wrote, I do feel bad that I can't link everyone who wants me to do so.

However that said, my link list (massive as it is) is a list for me and not for anyone else. It's my own personal bookmarking system. It just happens to be on a webpage rather than in a browser "Favorites" folder. It's what I read when I have the time to read it.

I guess, in a way, it would almost be like FOX News writing me and saying, "I noticed you have CNN.com and MSNBC.com bookmarked and that you read them every day. We'd like you to read our news, too. We think you'll like it. Will you please add our link to your IE Favorites folder?" Although I do visit FOX News from time-to-time, I can't possibly sit down and read the news on every single site out there, so I stick with my two favorites -- and read the others as I have that precious commodity called spare time. Make sense? It doesn't mean I don't love discovering new reads -- but that's the point. The discovery process is more fun if you find the items yourself. Scavenger hunts don't come with lists of items and where they are located. Instead they come with clues on where to get started (i.e. blog comments and stats).

So how do you feel about this... Is this yet another needless set of "rules" for a new genre of online writing that wasn't based on rules to begin with? Or do you go through the same struggles with your own blog reads?

Hey boy take a look at me...let me dirty up your mind...

i think Rebbecca blood is a twit. if people want to link me, cool, if not, cool too. i will continue to read my links even if the link doesn't link me. it's not about popularity with me. i find someone i like and read them, if they link back, yippee!! that would be nice. but like you said, it's my read list. i have never asked anyone to link me but i have asked if it was ok to link someone. i once linked to someone and they asked to be removed from my site based on my religious beliefs. so i did. and now, i ask certain people who differ from my views if it's ok to put them in my blogroll. i don't like nasty hate emails. =)

¤ ¤ credit: kat | 08.11.02 at 07:10 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Someone had a hissy because you linked them? Dude, that is so not cool! ;-) I'm completely flattered when people ask if they can link me, and find that to be quite a nice gesture. It's when they ask for me to link them merely because they've already linked me that I get uncomfortable...

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 08.11.02 at 07:13 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

oh, i would never ask someone to link me. it would be almost like asking someone to be my friend. too weird. i like surprises, so i'd rather just find out that someone linked me.

¤ ¤ credit: Camille | 08.11.02 at 07:35 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Being a relatively new blogger, I'd never ever email someone and ask them to put me on their list. I figure if they like what they read on my site, they'll do it themselves. This is kind of the same philosophy I carry around in my everyday life. Not everyone is going to like me, if you don't, oh well. I'll link who I like. I usually will link someone though, if they link me. I do know what it's like to be new after all. Like everyone else, I have my favorites on my list.

¤ ¤ credit: Statia | 08.11.02 at 08:03 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I don't know too much about Rebecca "what's her name"... but I agree, you should never "ask" someone to link you. I think it's great if someone wants to link me, so in return... I'll link if I want want too. Simple.

My question here is, why do we have to have rules?? Can't we all just blog and be blogged?? lol.

¤ ¤ credit: Christi | 08.11.02 at 08:10 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I link who I want, when I want. There is no rhyme or reason to it, and I don't spend any time worrying about proper protocol. I've never asked anyone to link me, and I'm never complained when someone removed me. My links are my business, and I hope nobody judges me based on who I do or don't link, but I'm losing no sleep over it.

Having said that, would you all please link me and put me at the top of your list and on your front page. Oh, and make it look like I'm always updated and maybe put a title over the top of my link like "daily must read no matter what" or "best of the best" or "blogging god" or something along those lines. Also would you please mention me often in your posts and link to some of my writings. Please. wKenShow

¤ ¤ credit: wKen | 08.11.02 at 08:13 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Hey I had no clue I was even on your private list, but Hey i am VERY happy to be.

¤ ¤ credit: Chuck | 08.11.02 at 08:51 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I agree with you. I hate it when people ask to be linked on my blog. I think it's just rude. They should just wait until I stumble onto their blog and if I like it, I will link to it. Or maybe I should make a blogroll called "These people asked my to link them." so it would be separate from my main one.

And I would never ask someone else to link me. Even though Gretchen and some other people have a "Suggest a blog" link, I still feel like I am being rude and greedy.

¤ ¤ credit: Kevin | 08.11.02 at 09:09 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Wouldn't it just be common courtesy to ask someone if you can link to their blog?

I just think sending a quick note to say “Hey, I like your site and your writing and I want to include it on my blogroll” sounds like the right thing to do. How tough is it to be nice?

¤ ¤ credit: John | 08.11.02 at 09:13 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Having recently done some housecleaning on my links, I have this to say:

I link what I like. A good 60% don't link back, and that's fine with me. I read them because I like them. Not because they like me.

When I get emails asking me to link to people, I more than likely do, and expect nothing in return. I've found some really good reads that way.

I'm not a big fan of people who link to everyone in the world, and then have a mark to notify those who've linked back. That's playing a popularity game, and not linking because of merit.

Bottom line? Link who you want to link. I guarantee most people will consider it an honor, I sure as heck do. Link what you like, not just what other people like. And don't expect those you link to, to link back.

That being said, I want to say what WKen said, would everybody please blogroll my site? And make make lots of long entries about how cute I am, how smart I am, how fun I can be - (Oops, I'm over-communicating again, huh).

(Sorry about the rambling, I'd just noticed I got snubbed)

¤ ¤ credit: annessa | 08.11.02 at 09:19 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Haha, I'll offer my own experience. When I began my online journal last summer, I was completely unaware that there were many people "out there" even doing the same thing. I did it mainly because I enjoy writing and expressing myself, and wanted some of my distant friends to be able to keep up with my life. When I restarted my journal in June (switching to MT), I slowly realized the HUGE community that existed out there. As I explored many of the different personalities out there, I found that I enjoyed different sites for different reasons. Some sites I enjoy the design, others the writing, others the photography, others the personality, and many a combination of all of that. Those are generally the reasons I link to someone else - for the longest time, I didn't link to anyone because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But I finally just decided it was easier for me to link them mainly because I enjoyed visiting their sites often anyway. My list is a reflection of my own interests - if I don't link to a certain site, it's not because that site is any less great but because it just doesn't happen to mesh as well with my own tastes or personality.

But again, the main reason I blog is because I enjoy sharing my own life with my friends out there, real AND "virtual." My blog (and thus my links) is a reflection of my personality; I'm not going to link to someone just because they ask me but if I enjoy their site for some reason or other. Also, I honestly could care less if people link to my blog - I mean, it makes me happy to know that people enjoy reading it, but even if I only had one visitor (my mom), I would still keep writing (and linking) just for the freedom of expression :) Okay, enough "rambling" ;)

¤ ¤ credit: ste | 08.11.02 at 09:50 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

E. Gary Gygax! As if we need something else to stress about...but I don't think Rebecca is a twit. She's just saying don't try to make people feel bad for not putting your name in lights.

I think it is a nice compliment for someone to link to their work. But it's not something to get stressed over!

This is coming from the guy that sends a weekly message to Gretchen to get on her list...I'm ready to jump off a bridge, 'cause she don't love me...hey! waitaminute! Robyn don't love me neither... (Now you know why I still read them--they both got TASTE!)

¤ ¤ credit: Solonor | 08.11.02 at 10:04 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I'm still not seeing the point of buying this weblogger's handbook. Her Dear Abby-like declarations of the obvious are ruining all the fun of blogging.

And BTW, I believe in sending fan signs or emails telling people how much I dig their blogs. Sometimes the drivel I post doesn't even deserve an audience. Asking somebody right out to trade links is a a little forward, to say the least. But I don't think that merits an entire chapter written about how forward that is.

At any rate, I got the ultimate gift from a reader--a new domain. So...links? What links? I'm just here to have fun! What's with all the crazy protocol!

Robyn...if you ever get sick of linking to me, rest assured I will not be hurt if you remove my link. I read your blog cause I love it. Go crazy.

¤ ¤ credit: The Avocado Couch | 08.11.02 at 10:13 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I agree with you Robyn, my link list is basically my personnel reading list, it's the sites that I have found, fallen upon, bumped into, in which I have found something of interest, some debate that has sparked my curiosity or just plain enjoy reading.
I haven't gotten any emails requesting that a link be added, so I cannot address that particular point in the debate. If people want to link me great, if they do so because they enjoy reading our site, then that's a hundred times better. As much as I love having people ‘over’ at our site, I do not believe in forcing people to link to a particular site.

¤ ¤ credit: munin | 08.11.02 at 10:19 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Personally, I don't think you need someone's *permission* to link them. If their blog is out there and findable, obviously they're letting it be found. You are listing what *you* found, read, or like. I can understand the permission issue (if someone asked me to remove their link, that makes sense, and I'd do it, but I wouldn't ask first. Seems kinda silly). As for asking for one in return... they'll link you when they read you. Why would you *ever* ask??

¤ ¤ credit: katie | 08.11.02 at 10:19 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Wow. Good topic. Here's my thing. I like to link to sites that I like. I also like to write to blog authors that I like and thank them for their stes. And if I've linked to them from mine, yes, I probably will mention it.

And yes, I'll admit it, there is an unstated hope they will like my site enough to link back, but that's not up to me, nor should it be, nor would I ever put them in such an awkward position to ask them to.

Some of the time ( Robyn and WKen, for example) they have linked back, and I always appreciate it. Sometimes, they have not, and I have no problem with that. Sometimes they did, and then I got cut in a later trimming ( Gretchen ), and I cry alone for a while, but then I feel better, and it's okay. I remember when Gretchen took me, and many others, off, and her site had a message saying (paraphrasing heavily) "please don't write to me and bitch because you're not on my blogrolls". I remember reading that and being shocked that there are people that would do that. Sure, i was disappointed, but who am i to complain?

And when it comes to Gretchen, or those who never linked me, you know what? I still like them, I still read them, and I still link to them.

This goes both ways. No one has ever asked me to link them, but I have found sites that link to me, and many of them, I have, on my own and without request, reciprocated. Some would have been on the list anyway. There are one or two that, well, maybe I wouldn't add them today, now that I'm a bit more comfortable in the blogging scene. Maybe those'll be trimmed off some day. Maybe they won't. It's my decision.

I can't expect that freedom for my little blog, and then turn around and pressure the big guns for links.

Even if Gretchen doesn't love me anymore ;-)

¤ ¤ credit: John Kenneth Fisher | 08.11.02 at 10:23 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Well, As we all seem to, I link to who I like to read, and to those good reads people recommend to me. I do have a "recommend a link" widget on my site, first because I wanted to see if I could get it to work (it does - yay!), and second, because I hope that those visitors too bashful to leave comments might leave some other trace behind. It's not bragging - it's a recommendation!

¤ ¤ credit: Donna | 08.11.02 at 10:32 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Not a chance -- the green avocado couch looks good with the Sooner decor! ;-)

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 08.11.02 at 10:33 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I've gotten that a few times.

I don't get it.

And I don't get asking someone if you can link them. I don't know what asshole would say no.

I just don't get any of it. It's all a mystery.

¤ ¤ credit: melly | 08.11.02 at 10:45 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Heh. Well, I'd get into this discussion but it kinda sounds like I'm already being bandied about as the "evil-link-cutter" here. ;) Things have evolved into people not writing to me and bitching about being cut from my list, but going to other people's blogs, I take it?

(Kevin, you may not have noticed that I removed the "Suggest a Blog" link in my last housecleaning... I finally realized that I had the power not to perpetuate the opportunities to get harassed!)

When I first started blogging, my husband instructed me that it was etiquette to mention to people that I had added them to my list. I don't think he mentioned anything about suggesting my link to others, although I think I probably did that at times. I realize that my blog-reading and linking theory has evolved... now, it's my jumping-off page, my list of links for ME. Although many still see it as a popularity contest, I don't anymore.

I haven't read Blood's book (actually just packed it into a box this afternoon, so it will still be a while until I do) but I guess I agree with her about this topic. I like the last paragraph that you quoted in your excerpt, because that's how I feel. Don't put me in that awkward position... it DOES make me feel uncomfortable about how I'm supposed to respond to you (you in the general sense of everybody... I'm not directly this at anyone in particular!), and if you put me in that position, yeah, I'm going to resent you for having done that.

I think it's perfectly fine to acknowledge to someone that you enjoy their blog. In fact, I'm much more likely to go to someone's blog if they say "Hey, I like your blog, just wanted to let you know. Bye." and they have their link there in the e-mail, rather than the person who e-mails me and says "I love your blog, you're so cool LOL! I think you'll really like my blog, it's one of the best ones out there I think. Go here: http://whatever.com"

Well then. Nuff said. (And I'm glad you still love me, John!)

¤ ¤ credit: Gretchen | 08.11.02 at 11:15 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Oh, ok Gretchen. I don't blame you. ;)

¤ ¤ credit: Kevin | 08.11.02 at 11:20 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I ignore the emails asking for a link...I will however go look at the site and if I really do like it I will link it, might even post about it. But damn, I'm not Zagat's...the hell do you care about my opinion??

That said, my link list has burgeoned out of control. I'm great about adding people I find through my referrer logs but not so great about taking off folks I don't read anymore. Afraid of hurting their feelings? How arrogant of me. But still...

¤ ¤ credit: Sekimori | 08.11.02 at 11:20 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I pretty much agree with everyone here...my blog links are my daily reads. The only time I really emailed anyone was the time when I updated my domain (at least I hope I didn't lurk for links!) pre Blogrolling. I think we all have our own little following, and this is the best way for us to post our thoughts and feelings. It's not a popularity contest.
Of course, after reading this, I feel really dumb - I just sent a similar email that was given as an example when I submitted a pic for the Rack Browser...boy is my face red!

¤ ¤ credit: Jim | 08.11.02 at 11:35 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

what are all you people talking about? what's "linking"? what's a "blog"?

¤ ¤ credit: mikey | 08.12.02 at 12:27 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

I almost always send an e-mail to my new links telling them that I like what they are doing,I have added them to my blogroll, and explaining that I will be glad to remove them if they prefer. No one has ever said no, but I think it is only courteous to give your blog buddies a heads up before you start driving traffic to their site.

¤ ¤ credit: ron | 08.12.02 at 06:35 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

If I post regular comments to a blog, then I usually add it to my "morning routine" list. If I am compelled to comment on the things someone writes, then I can safely assume that I enjoy what I'm reading!

Mine is not a traditional blog (i have no comments or other neat-o features) and I don't get offended if I am not included in other people's reads. If you like me, great! If not, I'm not going to stop writing. :P

¤ ¤ credit: leandra | 08.12.02 at 10:13 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

I'm guilty and don't feel one bit guilty about asking for someone to link back to me.
The last person I asked was wken and his wonderful wken show. I took the chance that his response would either to ignore me or say no thank you. But the wonderful part was I found him from two other daily reads. He asked that I entertain him, so I did.
No one has asked me to link to them, I do in fact link to someone who consistently makes comments to my posts or makes a lot of referrals to me. I guess it's a jester of courtesy. It is easier and faster to link then to open up my favorites and find.
I think with this discussion you have maintained on this book and author you, yourself could write a better book. Survey says..

¤ ¤ credit: Shelli | 08.12.02 at 10:29 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

i'm like you robyn, the links are there for my benefit. 60% of the people i link to are actual friends i've known for years and i'm gonna link them whether or not their blogs are "cool" simply because they're friends. the other 40% goes to people whose writing/life stories/bitchiness i like. i do tend to link people close to my age for some reason and i only have 3 men on my list, one of whom is an ex-boyfriend.

something i notice a LOT is that someone will link me, and then if i don't respond in kind within a few weeks, they take me off. boo-freaking-hoo.

i'm just one of those weirdos who doesn't care how many people read my blog. it's why i never sign up for rings or anything like that. i had enough of cliques in high school. i certainly don't need them now that i've turned 30!

¤ ¤ credit: laura | 08.12.02 at 03:07 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

URLs that have pinged me for this entry:

All old ping links have been removed from this blog. Die spammers, die!

Hey pretty, don't you wanna take a ride with me through my world?

Psssssst...pass it on!
email this entry to:

your email address:

additional message (optional):