Writing ToolsI am still officially on holiday so this is just going to be a short post today. When I sat down to write this post I logged into WordPress and as usual there were hundreds of comments marked as spam…

I was about to start writing about the Family Holiday and post some photos thereof but seeing all those spam comments made my heart sink. Previously I used to check through all of these messages to make sure there were no real comments that slipped through the net. In the very early days there was a message or two that ended up in the spam list. Since then though I haven’t had a single false positive result.

So why should I still check through all of those spam messages. Well the answer is that I’m not going to bother any more…

Don’t worry though as I just said pretty much all real comments seem to get through fine so there should be no difference to you, my loyal readers. If on the rare occasion that you do post a comment and you don’t see it appear either immediately if you are a previous commenter or after a couple of days for your first comment—I have to approve comments from new commenters—then the comment may have been caught by the spam filter.

Just sent me a direct message, tweet or even e-mail and I will dig it out for you. You can find out how to contact me on my About page.

How Is The Spam Filtered

WordPress has a plugin called Akismet that marks appropriate messages as spam. The plugin is installed as part of the initial WordPress setup but doesn’t come turned on by default.

You now have to go to their website to get an API key to allow you to use the plugin. The signup process is very straight forward but this is only free for personal websites or blogs. Otherwise there is a monthly charge for the service…

Until fairly recently this was a completely free service. Now I understand that everyone needs to make some money but this is not something I would be willing to pay for at the moment. I barely make anything from this site, not even enough to cover the hosting at the moment, so there is no way I could justify paying extra just to keep the spam under control.

If absolutely necessary then I would just have to turn off comments altogether and use some other medium like Twitter or Facebook instead.

I am sure there are some much bigger sites that would be able to justify such a cost though so I do not begrudge the charge…

The Figures

If you leave comments enabled on your WordPress site then you have to expect a huge amount of spam. As an example I have received 164 comments in total on this site since I started over a year ago. Compare this to the 2732 spam comments I have received.

Actually thinking about there was well over a thousand spam comments before I moved the blog over to Krystal Hosting. The comments were copied across in the move so that means I have received 164 comments compared to roughly 4000 spam!

Wow it’s even worse than I thought!

That means about 96% of the comments on my site are spam.

No wonder some of the blogs out there are starting to phase out comments. What with the new charges and the horrendous volume of spam, blog comments could become a thing of the past…

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Image: Pete O’Shea

3 comments

Shirley

Let’s hope that yours does not become a thing of the past it always makes good reading and has vital information.keep it up.x

Michael Ludgate

Impressive, I’d guess something like 10% failure identifying genuine messages, thus ~ 15 false positives.

Websites generally separate ‘front page’ content and comments. I wonder if this is purely for aesthetic reasons, or if they have some way of clearing down and moving the way the comments page is accessed. Are posted comments handled like email or are they dependent on the page/thread, allowing the path to be regularly broken. I’m assuming that the message spam is based on a predetermined list of blogs that it knows how to access, if it’s a bot trawling & posting, I guess it’s a lot harder.

Maybe it’s possible to somehow divert the spam to a dead page on the site, so that they might increase site rankings?

    Pete O'Shea

    I think it has to be some kind of bot as I got spam within the first week of setting up my WordPress site. Luckily the failure rate is so low I think I can trust that the spam comments are in fact junk.

    There are a fair few blogs out there now that only receive comments via another medium such as Twitter or Facebook and leave their site purely for their own content. I can certainly understand the appeal of that but I still think it works better with comments with the actual post.

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