Actually, I don’t have a strong objection to link bait. I do have a strong objection to the term, and its unfortunate connotations. The whole notion of baiting someone is not positive. And if you buy into the term, it becomes tempting to buy into bad ideas.
At its core, marketing your web site is about building trust, building a good reputation, and effective marketing techniques. The term “bait” makes the whole thing sound like a game, when marketing your web site needs to be serious business.
The term link baiting reminds me of that old phrase (that I also hated) “link popularity”. Ugh. These terms make you think that the game is to get large numbers of links, and it’s simply not true. Some of the strategies for getting large numbers of links are not all they are cracked up to be. It’s great to get thousands of links from your day in the sunshine on Digg, but you still need to answer the question about whether or not they are relevant links that help your rankings.
It reminds me of a post I saw long ago on Greg Boser’s blog about Amish Go Karts and Mini-Bike Furniture. In this post, Greg explains that the domain amishfurnitureandcrafts.com was resolving to the same IP address as gokartsusa.com (note that this is no longer the case).
Greg went on to provide some demonstrations of the wierd search terms that Go Karts USA was ranking for, terms such as Amish Go Karts, and Mini-Bike Furniture (note that this also is no longer the case).
But the point of the story is that links need to be relevant to really help you compete on search terms that you want to rank for. You need to focus on getting solid, high quality links to your site. This doesn’t mean that Digg (or Reddit, or …) can’t help you. Just make sure that your link baiting scheme will bring you good relevant links.
And don’t think of it as baiting someone, or setting a trap, or whatever. Think of it as building a serious business by offering something of value that tons of people are going to want to link to.