More Link Pollution – This Time from

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 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

A reply to the WordPress forum post “Link redirection through” states:

[R]edirection is related to the ads that sometimes are placed on 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, 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”…;-)

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

6 thoughts on “More Link Pollution – This Time from”

  1. by their pricing, my shared hosting setup would cost nearly $200, just for WordPress hosting. I pay something like $9/month. And get email, databases, can run other stuff, etc…

  2. I’ve been happy with Google’s since it allows me to choose to make the blogs ad-free, and I can also download the content of the blog to my own desktop just as a safety/backup issue. I used to run b2evo in my own hosting space, but the spam and security issues were overwhelming for me. For my own blogging needs, has been a good solution.

    The thing I personally like most about is that it is javascript friendly – it’s easy to put javascripts in the sidebar widgets, and to include javascripts in the posts as well. does not allow any javascripts in the free hosted service, which means teachers cannot use the widgets I create and distribute using javascript, alas – here are the widgets I share, with an easy “add to” buttom, as well as the javascript to cut and paste in other javascript-friendly environments (like for educators, which I like a lot):

    1. I used blogger for my Arcadia Mashups blog, and also tried it for some uncourse experiments on a visualisation related blog (Visual Gadgets). One issue I have with Blogger is that it isn’t as felxible as WordPress in the feeds’n’trackback stakes…

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