Open Trackback Alliance (OTA)

Click Here to See the List of Open Trackback Alliance (OTA) Members


1) What is the Open Trackback Alliance?

2) How does it work?

3) What are trackbacks?

4) Can I participate without becoming a member?

5) What is the presumed etiquette when trackbacking Open Trackback Alliance members?

6) What’s the best way to link to an Open Trackback Alliance member’s article without making my article looking silly?

7) Where can I find all those who belong to the Open Trackback Alliance?

8) How do I become a member of the Open Trackback Alliance?

9) How do I get trackbacks working with my software or how can I make trackbacks display on my front page?

10) Can I display the Open Trackback Alliance blogroll on my blog?

1) What is the Open Trackback Alliance?

Are you tired of seeing?

I’m an
Insignificant Pond Scum Spore
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Or how about?

photoLast updated when the dinosaurs were king
By Samantha Burns
Technorati Rank: 9,322,322,443,123 (0 links from 0 sites)

The Open Trackback Alliance helps your blog ranking grow by increasing the links between each other’s blogs and showcasing articles on one another’s sites.

You can grow by one of two ways:

a) Become a member of the Open Trackback Alliance; or

b) Participating with Open Trackback Alliance members when they articles which have open trackbacks.

The entire concept is to encourage bloggers to showcase their best recent articles on other blogs which may not otherwise recognize or know about their works.

Open Trackback Alliance members have agreed to create an open article at least once a week, which anyone can create a link to their own blog articles via a mechanism called “pinging”. The link that is created by pinging is called a “trackback”.

The two goals are:
a) Showcase your articles on each other’s blogs to build traffic

b) Create links to each other’s blogs to raise each other’s rankings

2) How does it work?

If you want to be known, you have to get links to your site and promote your articles. This isn’t always the easiest task as you are at the mercy of others to link to you. The members of the Open Trackback Alliance have all agreed to post an open article each week which you can place a link to your own articles by “pinging” their article.

To grow in rank you must increase the number of links to your blog from fellow bloggers and to grow your traffic you have to get your blog known. The more other bloggers link to your blog, the more you grow in both linkage and traffic.

Further, how popular you get as a blogger is based on the quality of your work and how well your work relates to others and ultimately getting your name and work known by other bloggers and readers.

For your ranking, not all links are equal, as some links between TTLB and Technorati are counted differently. The TTLB uses a robot that scan’s the front page of blogs for links to other bloggers. Technorati scans articles after they are published for links to other blogs but does not scan the front page for links (unless the front page is the only location where an article is published).

Open Trackback Alliance members will let you freely trackback to your own articles, even if the article is completely unrelated. Open Trackback Alliance members have all agreed to post a link to your article in their article as well as the front page of their blog for a period of time. In exchange, all you have to do is a link to them in your article. This helps both parties since you get a link from them and they get a link from you.

Update: TTLB may not count inline trackbacks as part of the TTLB ranking score. The goal is not to ‘cheat’ the system, but as a method to gain exposure and thus indirectly gain linkage which will count towards that score. Besides, the most important thing for your blog is not your ranking but your readership and quality of your work. A high rank without quality and readership is not valuable.

You can assist automated robots from not counting trackbacks as part of ranking and scoring by putting rel=”nofollow” on click here links. This also prevents spammers from any search engine ranking gains should they get past spam filters and a trackback link makes it to their site.

3) What are trackbacks?

The best way to explain it is to give an example. Let’s say while reading another blog you discover an article you want to write about. In your own article, you decide to link to the original article.

Example on your blog named “BooYa”:
Time For a Trim

I found this really great article on nose hair clipping at John Doe’s blog. Dude, you need a lawn mower, not a razor!

Meanwhile on John Doe’s blog:
Aunt Butterfinger’s Nose Hairs

If you click here you can see a gross picture of my aunt’s nose hairs which she has asked me to help trim.

Linked by:
Time for a Trim [by BooYa]

In the above example, John Doe did not originally link to you. However, you linked to John Doe from your blog and sent John Doe’s article a trackback “ping”. This lets John Doe’s auto-publishing blog tools know that you’ve linked to his blog’s article. In return for the favor of linking to him, his auto-publishing blog tools will automatically place a link to you from his blog.

Unfortunately, the spammers got wind of this trick and send fake trackback “pings” to bloggers and obviously, they have no intention of linking to any blogger and are not doing anyone any favor. As such, most trackback “pings” are moderated, i.e. they are approved before they are sent live to prevent spammers from getting any links. Further, trackbacks etiquette requires that you link to the article you are trackbacking from before the blogger will add a trackback link to your article.

Although somewhat dated, the best trackback primer and trackback for beginners explanation can be found on Movable Type’s website.

4) Can I participate without becoming a member?

Of course, yes. Not all bloggers have tools that will handle trackback pings. Not all bloggers are able to display their trackbacks on their blog’s front page. Not all bloggers will commit to placing an open trackback post on their site once a week. Thus only a subset of bloggers will actually be able to become Open Trackback Alliance members.

However, you can participate by linking your articles to member’s Open Trackback Alliance articles and send a trackback “ping” to the Open Trackback Alliance articles you link to your article. Pinging is an automatic method of letting another blogger know that you have linked to them so they can easily add a trackback to your article. BE SURE TO READ THE PRESUMED TRACKBACK ETIQUETTE BELOW!

Even if your blog publishing software does not support trackback “pinging”, you can still ping open Trackback Alliance members’ articles manually. You can use:

Wizbang Standalone Trackback Pinger

H/T: The In-Sect, Diane’s Stuff

5) What is the presumed etiquette when trackbacking Open Trackback Alliance members?

a) You are registered with TTLB and ping to Technorati. Sign up for TTLB and make sure you have Technorati configured properly for your blog editor (or manually “ping” Technorati if you need).

b) You must have a functioning link to the article on the site you are tracking back from in your article. If you don’t link to the Open Trackback Alliance member’s article that you are tracking back from, the trackback will be deleted 99.9% of the time.

c) Be patient. Many Open Trackback Alliance members will moderate trackbacks before sending them live because evil spammers use trackbacks to link to their evil spam sites. Trackbacks are meant for bloggers, not spammers.

d) Respect the trackback policy of the Open Trackback Alliance member. Some members don’t want left or right leaning bloggers’ links. Their site; their rules. You may not like those rules, but you must obey them.

6) What’s the best way to link to an Open Trackback Alliance member’s article without making my article looking silly?

You can do the linking in one of two ways

a) Inside your article, put a cleverly disguised link; or

b) At the end of your article, add a line that lists all the articles you are linking to and in turn trackbacking from. Not only is it compact and clean looking, it doubles by making you look important. Wow, fancy that. For example:

Linked to: Bunny Bones; The Last Known Cannibal; Elvis Is Dead; Some VIP;

7) Where can I find all those who belong to the Open Trackback Alliance?

The stable link can be found at:

This stable link will redirect to the page-de-jour.

8) How do I become a member of the Open Trackback Alliance?

Before you can become an Open Trackback Alliance member, you must make sure your blog has the ability to display trackbacks links on the front page of your blog. The only exception allowed is if you are willing to manually transfer the trackbacks into your article (which by all means is a pain in the royal.. well you get the idea).

When I say the front page, the preferred location is directly below each article that has trackbacks on the front page of your blog and not via a link to another page that displays the trackbacks.

If your blog is not capable of this feature and you aren’t willing to manually transfer trackbacks at the end of your article then you may still participate by trackbacking to Open Trackback Alliance members but your name will not be added to the Open Trackback Alliance members’ list.

While I would love for anyone to be added to this members list, I simply cannot pollute the list with those who have blog publishing software which is technically incapable of allowing you to participate as an alliance member.

If your blog can display trackbacks on the main page, send cash to P.O. Box 1223… Just KIDDING! It’s free, but you have to follow a few simple steps:

a) Sign up for TTLB and make sure you have Technorati configured properly for your blog editor (or manually ping if you need).

b) Choose a graphic to put up on your main blog page. Upload the picture to your own blog site (right mouse click and save as…) and do not hot-link as I will not be held responsible should your image link stop functioning as these image locations are not guaranteed to be stable. (Resize legibly as needed)



Open Trackback Alliance

c) Link the image to the stable URL:

Quick HTML code:
Open Trackback Alliance

d) Make all trackbacks to your articles show up on the front page of your page as they are sent live and not just in the article details. The entire mechanism falls apart if you do not follow this step.

e) E-mail OTA with the information listed below. That is ota followed by @ (the at symbol) followed by Sorry, have to do it that way because of evil spammers.

i) Your blog name:
ii) Your blog URL:
iii) Blog description [OPTIONAL] (1 line cut n’ paste only – use spell check please – shows when the mouse hovers over blogroll link):
iiI) Which day of the week (M,T, W, Th, F, Sat or Sun) will you typically be doing your open trackback posting:

Please allow a few days to process your request. If you don’t hear a reply, feel free to e-mail again as perhaps your e-mail was seen as spam and filtered (apologies in advance).

Make sure you have your OTA image, link, and proper trackbacking system ready before you an e-mail as I will not put any blog up that does not follow these basic steps. Additionally, do not expect a reply e-mail to simple requests to be added. Instead, check the Open Trackback Alliance Blogroll for your blog to be added in a few days after your request.

* NOTE: E-mail addresses will remain private.

9) How do I get trackbacks working with my software or how can I make trackbacks display on my front page?

I’m afraid I’m not an expert in every software publishing tool around. I can, however, tell you a few points. First, make sure you are comfortable modifying your blog’s templates. If you are not – DO NOT DO IT! Second, make sure you have a backup and are able to revert your blog’s templates if you make a mistake.

a) For Movable Type, this is the code Sam uses on her blog:


The following articles have trackbacked this article:

<$MTPingTitle$> [by <$MTPingBlogName$>]


Placed inside the … tags. All I can say is read the instructions on how to edit templates, and make sure you have a backup in case you screw up.

b) WordPress uses a plugin, but I don’t know how – sorry.

But thanks to for this comment:

To show the trackbacks in the post body you need two different plugins.
i) The first is Inline trackback: Save the file to your computer, remove the final “s” in the extension (the name of the file must be inline-trackbacks.php) upload to your plugin folder and activate it by a control panel.

ii) The second is PHP Exec (click the link to find the plugin and explanation). Upload and activate this plugin too.

iii) Now when you want to show the tb in your post you have to copy and paste this code where you want they appear.

Note: The link to inline-trackback you’ve posted below do not work (they are old) and the plugin will not work without the second plugin; both won’t work if the user does not write the code above.

Point Five has been using a WordPress plugin found here:

Diane’s Stuff has been using a plugin for WordPress as well. Perhaps if you are really nice and send them some traffic they might share their secret on how they made it work.

c) If you don’t have trackbacks, you can use Haloscan.

I found this link on how to get Haloscan working for trackbacks only (so you don’t have to convert your comments):

Further, I found this article started on how to embed haloscan trackbacks into your articles:

… although I have no idea how it works or how clean you can make them display. You might just end up preferring the manual method if it’s really ugly.

UPDATE: As of now, I have not found anyway to cleanly display auto trackbacks from Haloscan on the main page without making a royal mess. As such, if you use them I recommend manual transference of trackbacks from the weekly OTA articles into the article itself. If anyone has a good idea of how to do it cleanly (where the links will count and be scanned), let me know and I’ll either be glad to link to an article on your site or put the information here directly.

d) Anything else, I’m sorry, I just don’t have advice for you! If you do, I’d be happy to share this information in the FAQ.

10) Can I display the Open Trackback Alliance blogroll on my blog?

Yes, of course, but this is completely OPTIONAL.

Quick HTML code if you want to display the Open Trackback Alliance blogroll to your site: