Whenever I start a blog (my own or blogs I manages for others), comment spam problems are usually the last thing that cross my mind. After all, if a blog is unknown and have virtually no traffic (like SandboxBlogger.com at the current stage), the blog will be of little interest to spammers. Those new blogs may not even register as a tiny bleep under the spammers’ radar. One exception I have notice is that blogging or websites related blog like SandboxBlogger.com seems to get notice very quickly. I’ve seen spam coming in from the first month I’ve started this blog.
As for the rest of the blogging world, at least ones that I know will start to see comment spam when popularity and traffic pick up. I’ve also seen quite a few blogs out there react to the bombardment of comment spam by closing off comments or make it mandatory for readers to register an account just to write comments. Once that happen, those said blogs might as well declare spammers the winners because those blogs have just allowed spammers take away the freedom from those blog owners to allow open comments in their own blog. Along with that, gone is the freedom of their readers to easily make comments, even anonymously if they choose.
Some blog owners resort to adding captcha or other more creative method to force readers to prove themselves as human and not spambot in the comment forms. These measures may help to a certain degree but they are quite annoying to readers who simply want to make a comment. Having readers do something extra to proof themselves worthy of a comment is a really punishment to your readers for the spammers fault. On top of that, there are technology to beat these systems and besides, there is no stopping spammers paying a small amount to people in poor country that have access to the Internet to beat these systems manually.
Fortunately, all is not lost. There are solutions out there to help blog owners keep those pesky comment spams under control. In my experience, the Akismet spam filter that comes preinstalled in WordPress is quite effective at filtering out spam. Once activated and configured, comments spam are dump to the Akismet spam list area located under the “Comments | Akismet Spam” tab in the WordPress dashboard. You are then free to remove it, unmark as spam or just do nothing and allow the Akismet plugin to auto remove it after 15 days. With a very low miss-rate, managing comment spam is a breeze. That is until the spam bombardment begins. That is the only snag about Akismet. As the spam list grows it will simply become too great of an effort to unmark legitimate comments that was falsely flag as spam.
This is where the Bad Behavior plugin will come in real handy and the best part, it works together with Akismet or any other comment filters for WordPress. This plugin is very effective because unlike Akismet, it does not filter comments by its content. Rather, Bad Behavior looks at how the comment form is access and submitted. By doing so, the Bad Behavior plugin is able to determine if there is really a human on the other side of the Internet. If it is typical of a spambot access pattern, the comment will be stop. Spam filters like Akismet will not even have the chance to see the comment. Furthermore, in the case where the Bad Behavior plugin fails to flag a comment spam, there will always be Akismet spam filters and the likes to act as the second line of defense.
So, don’t wait another day. Start using these plugins and take back the control over your reader’s comments from spammers.