What is linkjacking?

By Deane Barker on November 8, 2008

Please Don’t: Linkjack!: I see this term on Reddit all the time, and finally looked it up:

In its very basic form, linkjacking is the act of taking content from another site, posting it to yours, and then submitting your site to a traffic driving source such as Digg, Netscape, Reddit, and so on. Assuming it goes unnoticed and your submission goes popular, you deprive the original content producer of the deserved traffic and redirect it to yourself.

Interesting, but how do you avoid this? For instance, if this very post starts ranking high for “linkjacking,” then could it be said that I linkjacked this guy’s content? Do you run the risk of linkjacking everytime you quote someone else’s work?

Consider too:

[…] how much of the original content can you fairly quote and how much original insight must you have to add before your content can evade the much hated stamp of ‘merely re-purposed (linkjacked) content’?

I’ve discussed this a couple times, like in this post:

The other day, I added a “via Anil Dash” link to one of my entries for no particular reason, and it got me thinking about it. If the content is A, and Anil Dash’s entry that links to it is B, then should I link to Anil as C? Or should I follow Anil’s link to the target and become a B? If I become a B via Anil’s link, do I need to add attribution to his B?

Or, here:

[…] here’s my theory that there are fundamentally three types of blog posts:

  1. A link to something with no commentary of any value.

This is 80% of the posts on this site. There is really no reason for anyone to link to this — they should just link to the source. If the target URL is A, and Gadgetopia links to it as B, then C should just link directly to A, bypassing me at B since I didn’t provide any value at all. A “Via Gadgetopia” might be nice, but I shouldn’t be the actual target of the primary link.

I hope I never linkjack, but I think it’d be easy to do it without trying.

What This Links To


  1. I disagree heartily with those who get hung up on “linkjacking,” for two reasons:

    1) Most of us who visit Gadgetopia depend on it for links to information/products/apps that are of interest to us. If all you do is post a link, so be it. But Gadgetopia is much less general than Digg, which is a good thing, so most of us would rather come here.

    2) If the “hijacked” link is so great, people will go to that site anyway, and that site’s traffic will rise. (I certainly click most if not all of the linked websites here.) I think I speak for most website owners when I say I don’t give a crap how you got to my site as long as you’re there.

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