This has been written in response to increasing confusion amongst bloggers about what Linkis actually is and does. The purpose of this article is to highlight that a vast number of Linkis ‘users’ are in fact using Linkis without realising they are doing so or understanding what they have signed up to. You will find instructions on how to delete linkis towards the end of the post if you choose to.
DO YOU RUN A WEBSITE/BLOG ON WHICH YOU SPEND YOUR VALUABLE TIME WORKING TO CURATE/WRITE CONTENT?
A site that is your baby, your brain child, your own corner of the internet? If the answer is yes, then let me ask you this.
ARE YOU SURE YOUR OWN URL IS SHOWING WHEN YOUR POSTS ARE TWEETED? OR IS A THIRD PARTY APP REPLACING YOUR URL’S WITH THEIR OWN?
A third party app that in fact then obliges people to activate an account BEFORE THEY ARE ALLOWED TO READ YOUR POST and then only lets them read your post within that app’s own screen WITHOUT ANY MENTION OF YOUR OWN SITE IN THE BROWSER WINDOW:
What am I talking about?
CHECK YOUR TWITTER TIMELINE
Do your tweets (for your content) show YOUR url or a Linkis In.is/com url?
Do your tweets (sharing other people’s posts) show THEIR url or the In.is/com url?
If the answer to either or both of these is yes, then you may want to do something about it! Why do I say this? Blogger Life of Tont tweeted me to ask:
Do you know that Linkis.com have taken over your Twitter account?
I didn’t know what he meant. Upon closer inspection, I noticed this:
ALL MY POSTS WERE GOING OUT ON TWITTER WITH IN.IS/COM/…INSTEAD OF MY OWN URL’S
I was horrified. It turned out I had unintentionally activated a linkis.com account.
I THEN REALISED MANY BLOGGERS HAVE AUTHORISED LINKIS AND EACH TIME THEY SHARED MY CONTENT, THE SAME PROBLEM WAS HAPPENING!
Here is a recent example. Look at this tweet that my blogger friend Jane of Maflingo kindly sent out to share my post 25 Things that Annoy the Hell Out of Bloggers (in which this linkis issue is number 20!)
See the problem? Instead of being shown my url http://www.absolutelyprabulous.com/25-annoying-things-about-blogging you are being shown In.is/com/eR1rP.
Upon realising that this was in fact a linkis customised tweet, Jane was dismayed as, like so many others, she had not even realised what was happening to her tweets. She has since revoked Linkis access to her tweets…see below on how to remove Linkis prefixes from your tweets.
HERE’S THE KICKER
If you were to click on the link in that tweet (on Twitter I mean, not here) you would be greeted with this:
That’s right. Same problem as on the tweet itself.
- Instead of being shown my url http://www.absolutelyprabulous.com/25-annoying-things-about-blogging you are shown In.is/com/eR1rP.
- Can you see how my site is hidden underneath? You have to click on that authorise button to get to my site. (It’s even more galling when you’re trying to click on your OWN content and have to authorise an app to view your own site.)
- However, upon doing that, you would be viewing my site from within the linkis frame to which they then add a further bar showing the details of the linkis user (who tweeted the post). Hang on. Where does my site feature in all this?
WHY IS IT PROBLEMATIC WHEN TWEETS FEATURE THE LINKIS URL? SURELY IT’S JUST A URL SHORTENING SERVICE LIKE BIT.LY, OW.LY ETC?
Linkis.com describe themselves as a link customization service. Unlike URL shorteners, Linkis allows its users (who in most cases don’t even realise they are Linkis users!) to add their own information, image, bio, social accounts etc to their tweet. Linkis also adds a further top bar above the content (ie your post) that its users share. This is marketed as a benefit. Perhaps there are bloggers out there who see it as a benefit to share someone else’s content (but change their link while doing so) whilst also adding their own ‘promotional extras’. I must clarify that this does not apply to Jane’s tweet obviously.
But think of it this way.
WHAT IF YOU’RE WORKING WITH A BRAND FOR WHOM YOU’VE WRITTEN AN ARTICLE…AND THEN SOMEONE ELSE (A LINKIS USER) TWEETS THAT ARTICLE, ADDING DUBIOUS UNWANTED TEXT ETC IN THEIR TWEET?
You have no control over this! All your hard work can go down the drain just like that. Whilst doing my research for this post, it wasn’t clear if linkis cover themselves in their T&C’s about the user being responsible for using the linkis service.
RE: COPYRIGHT, WHEN DID YOU GIVE YOUR PERMISSION FOR THOSE OTHER PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR CONTENT VIA LINKIS?
If like me, you have copyright notices on your blog, then those people using linkis to share your content are committing copyright infringement. Yet they don’t realise as they’re not doing it deliberately or maliciously.
IT’S ALSO REALLY DAMAGING FOR YOUR SITE TRAFFIC/SOCIAL MEDIA GROWTH
- John Doe see’s Jane’s tweet about my Annoying Things About Blogging post. He thinks “Wow this looks worth reading” (he’s a smart fella…it is quite good, if I say so myself 🙂 ).
- He reads it, staying within that linkis screen and doesn’t register he’s on absolutelyprabulous.com because that bar on the screen shows Jane’s avatar and social media buttons, not mine.
- Worse, he’s so put off by the authorise button, he clicks away without reading it at all. Reader and potential follower lost.
IT ALSO SEEMS THAT LINKIS HAS A SINISTER ALMOST MALWARE-LIKE ASPECT TO IT.
Firstly, look at this survey Tony carried out on Twitter.
Incidentally, according to Tony, the ‘No I love them’ 1% response came from…. Linkis.com!
Now consider this:
- John Doe see’s Jane’s tweet about my Annoying Things About Blogging post. He thinks “Wow this looks worth a read”.
- He clicks on the tweet, then hits that authorise button.
- BOOM he’s now a linkis user meaning that EVERYTHING he tweets from now on will be replaced with In.is/com/etc
- He loves the post so much (thank you John), he retweets it
- John’s friend Joe Bloggs sees his RT. Joe thinks “Wow, this looks good” and clicks and reads
- BOOM he’s now a linkis user… See what’s happening here?
- History repeats itself and like a contagion, the linkis usage spreads uncontrollably and apparently with very few people realising they’re infected and that they’re infecting others.
The final straw for me is when I looked at my daily stats and noticed that one of my ‘referrers’ was linkis. Hang on. Someone has shared my content (thank you to them) but linkis assumed ownership of the post url and is then referring my traffic back to me?! Er no thank you!
I set about solving the problem and restoring ‘ownership’ of my tweets.
THE PROBLEM IS THAT WHILE YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT HOW YOUR OWN TWEETS ARE GOING OUT, YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT OTHER LINKIS USERS’ TWEETS THAT SHARE YOUR CONTENT.
The only way to extinguish this Twitter wildfire problem is for bloggers to be aware of this negative side of Linkis and SPREAD THE WORD. Hopefully, if enough people catch on – PlLEASE SHARE THIS IF YOU FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT THIS ISSUE – that will spread as effectively as the linkis issue. (In the spirit of transparency, there is a caveat at the end of this post explaining Linkis’s side of it.) However, f you are not convinced of the ‘positive’ side that Linkis promotes in the articles mentioned in the caveat, then do the following:
TO REMOVE LINKIS IN.IS/COM/… FROM YOUR TWEETS AND REINSTALL YOUR OWN URL’S TO YOUR TWEETS DO THIS:
Go to your Twitter settings
scroll down to apps and locate linkis amongst authorised apps
click on revoke access.
You can’t see linkis in this particular screenshot because I removed mine but if you’ve authorised Linkis, they should show up in this tab. If not, see option 2.
DID THIS WORK? IF YOU CAN’T SEE LINKIS AMONG YOUR AUTHORISED APPS BUT YOUR TWEET URL’S ARE DEFINITELY REPLACED BY LINKIS THEN TRY OPTION 2:
Go to linkis.com. (Don’t worry, you won’t be accidentally authorising them to do anything on your behalf by signing in!) You sign in via Twitter.
Turn off ‘auto-branding’.
That’s it! Your linkis is deactivated and you are linkis-free!
Linkis.com claims to offer a service that enhances your branding and promotes your Twitter account as well as other apparent ‘benefits’ such as stats info. Readers can decide for themselves if they think Linkis offers a beneficial service by reading these links:
I did ask Linkis to clarify what benefit they think they bring (although in hindsight, I should perhaps have asked how it is in fact legal given the aforementioned copyright infringement).
At the time of writing this article, I’ve not yet received a response.
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