The problem with Tumblr image reblogging

Tumblr seems to be taking off in a big way, not least because it's easy and fun. Though one of the biggest lures seems to be the friendly, open and sharing culture of Tumblr. While that's a virtue in and of itself, it seems to have led to a big problem: Abuse of that culture by those with nefarious or profiteering intentions.

Tumblr's all about the reblogging and one of the things these nefarious individuals do is place dodgy links in posts, or worse code that automatically redirects to scam websites. This often occurs in notes added to images, or similar. It is easy enough to avoid these: Just make sure to strip out anything that's not easily identifiable as safe before reblogging. The more difficult thing to avoid is dodgy click-through links, not least because Tumblr folk can get very upset about click-through links being removed. Click-through links are applied to the original post and remain whenever the content is re-blogged. They are often used to link back to the source of the content (e.g. the content owner, originating blog etc.), which is great in theory, but I have found they are quite often being used redirect innocent Tumblr users to scam websites. Apart from being frowned upon click-through link removal is actually a total pain, so my solution is to simply adjust your template settings so click-through links are never active on your tumblr page.

Most templates will have something similar to this for displaying image posts:

{LinkOpenTag}<img src="{PhotoURL-500}" alt="{PhotoAlt}"/>{LinkCloseTag}

{LinkOpenTag} automatically adds a click-through link if one exists, if not it puts in the permalink to the image itself. What I suggest is a slight adjustment so that the permalink is always used:

<a href="{Permalink}"><img src="{PhotoURL-500}" alt="{PhotoAlt}" /></a>

I think it's quite elegant because it means the click-through link remains with the content if anyone wants to look it up, but your tumblr page can never unwittingly send someone to a dodgy site via a click-through link.