doesn’t link back

I ran my domain through IndieWebify.me. Almost all of the rel=“me” links either don’t link back or couldn’t be fetched. The following work perfectly and can be used with the IndieAuth authentication plug-in1.

That’s 4 out of 43. Most of these profiles have links back to my website. I know for sure that my keybase.io, and instagram and medium profiles have a link to my website. So why are many of these being reported as don’t link back?

I ran Chris Aldrich’s boffosock.com domain through and I saw similar results.

I ran my Instagram profile through IndieWebify.com and got this interesting result.

doesn’t link back

That explains why Instagram doesn’t link back. Instagram isn’t using the supplied information to create a microformated profile. There are no rel=“me” links in my Instagram profile page.

In the HTML source for my GitHub profile, I can easily find the HTML that links back to my web site.

<a href="https://islandinthenet.com" class="u-url" rel="nofollow me">https://islandinthenet.com</a>

doesn’t link back

So … what’s the point of filling out all the extended profile field provided by the microformats2 plugin if very few of the social media silos link back my web site?

doesn’t link back

I also noted that IndieWebify.me parsed the h-card on my website and complained that I was missing a email address. Well … I filled in the email field in my profile and but it is indeed not included in the h-card on my web site. So …. what’s going on there?

I syndicated this post to Facebook and Twitter and Goolge+ but yet IndieWebify.me could not find any of those copies.

There are a host of issues with many of these plugins that I don’t know where to start. In the next few weeks I will be documenting the number of these issues.


  1. Which breaks the ability to use the official Automattic image export plugin for Adobe Lightroom. 
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3 Comments on “doesn’t link back

  1. doesn’t link back by Khürt Williams (Island in the Net)

    I ran my domain through IndieWebify.me. Almost all of the rel=“me” links either don’t link back or couldn’t be fetched. The following work perfectly and can be used with the IndieAuth authentication plug-in.
    GitHub
    Flickr
    Goodreads
    Twitter

    That’s 4 out of 43.

    Khürt , The majority of them don’t link back because the silos (like Keybase, Instagram, and Medium which you mention) aren’t putting the rel=”me” microformat on the URLs in your profile like Twitter, Github, and Flicker do. If you view the page source for those silos, you’ll see that they list your URL, but don’t have rel-me’s pointing back at you. Sadly, you can’t control these, though you could file issues with the sites that don’t to encourage them to.
    The indiewebify.me site has a parser that is looking at the two sites to see that they not only point at each other, but it requires that the two links have the rel=”me” microformat on them. Most don’t, but this doesn’t mean too much in practice. Whether or not they both have rel=”me”, the only way both sites could point at each other indicates that you “own” or control them both. Kevin marks has proposed/built an interesting decentralized verification service based on them. His version is certainly much better distributed than Twitter’s broken verification set up.
    Other than having a stronger two-way ownership indicator, what do you get out of them? As you mention, some have the ability to be used with IndieAuth. Those that can be used with IndieAuth are relying on the service (like Twitter or Github) having a OAuth implementation for signing into their services. This allows an indie site to piggyback on another services’ OAuth implementation without having to go through the trouble to build one themselves, which can be a lot of work to do, much less do correctly (securely). Most of the services you see not linking back not only don’t add the rel=”me” tag, but they also don’t support OAuth, so you wouldn’t get too much more out of having the correct reciprocal link anyway.
    Incidentally, one of the benefits the rel=”me” links do have is that they allow you to use your website to log into the IndieWeb wiki to participate directly in that part of the community. (Give it a try!)
    Some services like Brid.gy get around services like Instagram or Facebook not having a physical rel=”me” microformat because they’re relying on looking at the appropriate data (usually via API) on your profile page to see if it links back (either in your website field or typically in your bio).
    Don’t be overly concerned that the vast majority of sites appear not to link back even if you’ve got links on both pointing back. (And if you think your batting average is bad with only 4 of 43, just imagine how many of my 200+ sites do?!)
    If you want to see an interesting tech-forward application of rel=”me” and the XFN friends network, take a peek at Ryan Barrett’s Indie Map which he unveiled over the summer:
    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkc5afFohmI?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=840&h=503%5D
    Some of these building blocks will likely add a lot more value later on as more and more sites explicitly indicate their relationship to and from each other.

    Author: Chris Aldrich

    I’m a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history.

    I’m also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.
    View all posts by Chris Aldrich

    • Hi Chris,
      It’s frustrating that the these silos ask for the information to build a profile page but don’t use microformats. They are indeed silos of information. I setup the first 40+ profiles on my site and then gave up adding the rest when I realised how few were linking back. I don’t quite have 200+ profiles but it’s a lot more than 43.

      If twitter can support rel=me then it’s quite odd that keybase.io does not. I read Kevin Mark’s article and I will try out his Chrome browser extension. I am still working on why no rel=me links could be found on my Google+ profile. I was sure Google+ supported this.

      Incidentally, one of the benefits the rel=”me” links do have is that they allow you to use your website to log into the IndieWeb wiki to participate directly in that part of the community. (Give it a try!)

      I did just that this weekend. I put an entry under the Generation 1 / Generation 2 section of the Generations page and RSVP to the Virtual Americas HWC.

      Thanks for the links to Ryan Barrett and XFN friends network. This is all so exciting (and frustrating).

  2. Hmm, my check reveals the same too (mostly not working). I’ve also noticed that your profile field is a little different to mine, e.g. yours wants a Facebook URL, mine just a Facebook ID. Curious!

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