You wouldn’t believe how much spam this blog is getting. Every time I log in and go to my WordPress dashboard, I do a double-take at the number: “Akismet has protected your site from 74,191 spam comments already.”
I’ve been using WordPress for four years. That’s 18,547 spams per year and about 50 spams a day (disclaimer: these divisions were done using a calculator. I can’t do math in my head). Wow. I wish I were as popular with actual people.
Fortunately, I use Akismet, one of the many anti-spam plugins. It comes by default with any WordPress installation and it’s pretty efficient blocking most suspicious comments and adding them to my spam queue.
I also set some discussion parameters: if a comment has more than two links, it has to be approved manually (a large number of links in a comment is usually sign of a spam). I blocked some terms following a particularly vicious Russian spam attack, such as “.ru”. I moderate all authors who don’t have a previously approved comment. Finally, I check the spam queue regularly to make sure there is no “ham” in my “spam”.
A good way to spot spam is to check the commenter’s ID and website. It’s amazing the number of “replica handbag” or “X escort services” who feel they have something to say!
Some spams are easy to spot: they typically mention how well-endowed I could be with the help of magic pills. It’s just too bad I’m a woman, don’t you think? Spammers are also big (no pun intended) on various medical pills, trendy products or porn movies. I guess the ideal audience for spammers would be a man with er… potency issues, watching a X-rated movie on his mobile device. But against, wrong audience with this blog.
Others spammy comments kind of make sense but are completely off the mark:
Hey! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!
I love the ones that sound like fortune-cookies (or Master Yoda on drug):
Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the internet the easiest thing to remember of. I say to you, I definitely get irked even as folks consider issues that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top well defined out the whole thing without having side effect, folks can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you
There are the mysterious ones that you can only decipher if you took ancient Polish and CIA code training in school:
7KM0t4 [url=http://drfrtpywhizs.com/]drfrtpywhizs[/url], [link=http://oydzvgfjfbgy.com/]oydzvgfjfbgy[/link]
Finally, there is trackback spam, where the spammer sends trackback pings to your site that direct viewers to a totally unrelated URL:
[…]we like to honor other sites on the web, even if they aren’t related to us, by linking to them. Below are some sites worth checking out[…]…
Gee, thanks, indeed we are not related—it’s not because I’m French that I’m an escort girl, dirty mind!
Even though some spams make me smile, I’m fighting against them every day.
I recently read an interesting point of view on Four Dumb Ways to Fight Comment Spam. Overall, I agree with the writer. I don’t want to force readers to solve a captcha in order to leave a comment because I personally hate that. Some captcha are hard to decipher, they are a waste of time and I don’t want to treat all commenters as potential spammers. I also want to avoid compulsory registration—why make things complicated? Closing comments on old articles is also an option but a lot of my articles are for reference (such as the How to… Immigrate To Canada series) and continually receive interesting feedback and questions.
So I’m down to fighting spam with two weapons, Akismet and my own judgement.
How about you? Do you get a lot of spam? How do you fight it?