Thursday, March 17, 2011

Managing Comment Spam

A roundup of links and resources for managing comment spam.

No one likes spam.  Everyone loves to get comments, but spammy comments take up too much time and too many resources.  Fortunately, there are some automated ways to deal with it.

Commenting Systems:
Disqus and Intense Debate are two popular commenting platforms that prevent spam. Disqus can be installed on Blogger.  Be careful with these.  If you decide to uninstall them, you might lose all of your comments.

Plugins:
Akismet spam plugin comes highly recommended for WordPress bloggers, but recently Akismet moved to a paid model ($5-50 a month).  It used to be free which is why so many used it.  What other tools can a blogger use to block spam?

My personal favorite spam blocker is a WP plug-in, No SpamNX.  This blocks robot spammers by creating an invisible field to fill in.  Robots using automated programming to view and post on websites see the field, and fill it in- flagging themselves as spammers.  Humans can't see the field and their comments go through.

Other plugins add captcha, random questions, or math problems.

Discussion Management:
You can also block certain words, phrases, or IPs in WordPress.  For example, I have some profane words blocked plus the worst Spam comment keywords.  I had a problem with foreign language spam so I also added a few Russian letters to my "autoblock" list, too.

Other management techniques include flagging comments with more than one link, disabling comments on old blog posts, or making commenters sign up through their Facebook profile or Twitter account.

Captchas
Captcha codes are those wiggly numbers/words/math problems that have to be entered to "prove" you are human.  They do cut down on spam but they also reduce the number of actual, quality commenters.


I've only seen one site use captcha to its advantage.  The site owner started a meme for "real" commenters to give the definition of their captcha words in the comments, resulting in some hilariously creative responses that were worth reading just for themselves.

For the love of Pete, please don't have captcha AND comment moderation on at the same time.  That is a huge turnoff and will kill your comment rates.

Always remember that you do not want to be so aggressive in blocking spam that you make it hard or annoying for your readers to comment.

What do other bloggers have to say about spam?
Best Way To Have Quality Comments Only from Pro Blog Design
Blogger Adds Spam Filters
Do You Spam?  Spammy Things to Stop Doing Now!

More WP Plugins:
GrowMap Anti Spam review from Moomette's Magnificance.  Phil Hollows of Feedblitz recommends this one, too!   Blocks spambots by making commenters click on a check box.

No SpamNX blocks spambots using an invisible-to-humans field.

Block Spam by Math Reloaded

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