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Combatting Comment Spam – Contraception for your Blog

In my ‘Questions for ProBloggers‘ post Rick asks:

‘How do you deal with comment spammers?’

Comment spam is an insidious problem which threatens to kill or at least overwhelm many blog projects. I detest it on many levels, partly because of the content of many spam comments (which go against my values), partly because the people who do it are exploiting the hard work of others to make a quick (and big) buck and largely because of the time that it can take to delete it.

So how do you stop comment spam? This is the question everyone is asking and one which I’m afraid there is no easy answer for. The only 100% way not to have comment spam is to take away the ability to leave comments on your posts. (For some strange reason this reminds me of the age old advice on how not to get pregnant….don’t have sex).

Unfortunately like sex, comments can be fun (ok, comments are NOT as fun as sex, but without them blogging can be a little dull) and most bloggers like to have the ability to leave a comment at the end of their post. So there are a number of ways that you can decrease the chances of having spammy comments impact your site (is this like contraception?).

I’ve tried many systems to get rid of spam and have had moderate success with some of them although have never completely irradiated it from my blogs. Let me share a few things I’ve tried:

On my MovableType blogs I still only use version 2.65 so do not have the latest in built methods of fighting spam at my finger tips. I do use MT-Blacklist, a plug in that catches and kills many spam comments but found an increasing amount were getting through a few months ago. However I have noticed a marked decrease in it since forcing those leaving comments to preview comments before they go live on the site. This makes posting a comment a two click process rather than a one click one. It does not eliminate every spam comment left but decreased numbers being left significantly.

My newer blogs (including ProBlogger) are all WordPress blogs and I have to say that it is a system that is working well for me when it comes to spam. I use Kitten’s Spaminator Plug-in which is working very well at intercepting hundreds of spam comments every day across my WP blogs. Of the comments it doesn’t pick up I find most other comments are caught by WP’s comment moderation feature which allows you to add words to. These words go into a moderation queue which I review manually. With these two tools comments by the automated spamming systems are rarely getting past and I just have to deal with a handful of individual’s spam comments each day.

There are a number of good resources out there written for combating comment spam. If you’re a WP or MT user start with these:

- Six Apart – Guide Comment Spam
- Word Press – Combat Comment Sapm

If you have anything to add or suggestions on online resources that might help feel free to add them in comments below.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I don’t bother with any anti-spam features on my WordPress weblogs except WP Hashcash. It works wonders. Now I just need to install this to moderate trackbacks and pingbacks.

  2. Rick Blythe says:

    I am having pretty good luck with Blacklist for WordPress

  3. What spam ? I even don’t receive normal comments ! (ouch !)
    My anti-spam method is CAPTCHA then auto-close after 7 days.

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