A month or two ago, I posted on the topic of Google/Feedburner Link Pollution, observing how URIs contained in RSS feed link elements run through Feedburner end up with Google Analytics tracking codes appended to them.
Well, it seems as if WordPress.com occasionally does a little bit of rewriting of links you might have carefully placed in your blog posts if you are using the free plan, dynamically rewriting those links and sending clicks through go2.wordpress.com.
A reply to the WordPress forum post “Link redirection through go2.wordpress.com” states:
[R]edirection is related to the ads that sometimes are placed on WordPress.com blogs … [P]urchasing the No Ads Upgrade will stop the redirection.
Now I know that ads are sometimes presented on my blog to unsigned in visitors, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been told that links may also get rewritten? One of the dangers of using a free hosted service, of course.
As to why do I use a free service? I don’t want the hassle of backups, updates, and doing sys admin things if the site ever gets hacked. And In return, I pay nothing, live with certain constraints (e.g. restrictions on layout, embedding, inability to run Google Analytics, etc.) and visitors who aren’t WordPress users may occasionally suffer from ad displays.
But things are getting so that I now need to regularly spend time looking for ways in which the “free” services I use are polluting my content.
So do I pay to upgrade to paid for services on WordPress.com, host a blog myself, or use a more enlightened (but more expensive) commercial provider such as Squarespace?
(Stephen – no need to say “I told you so”…;-)