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The Blog Tool that Has Saved Me Months of Work

The biggest single time saver in my blogging is a plugin that many of us take for granted – but which has literally saved me days and days of time.

What it’s done for me can be summed up in this little screen capture taken from the back end of ProBlogger:

Picture 2-10

Yes – last night the amount of spam comments that Akismet has filtered here at ProBlogger passed the ‘magical’ 2 million mark.

That’s a frightening statistic on numerous levels.

For starters it shows just how big the problem of comment spam is (I think I started using this about 18 months ago).

Also frightening is the thought of life without Akismet.

Lets do a little arithmetic and see what using it has done for my life:

Let’s assume that if I had to moderate spam comments manually here at ProBlogger that it would take around 2 seconds to do each one (I think it could be more than that as it can take a while to track them all down – I know this because when Akismet’s server has gone down for an hour or so it takes forever).

  • 2,000,000 comment spams X 2 seconds = 4,000,000 seconds needed for moderating comments.
  • 4,000,000 seconds = 66666.666667 minutes
  • 66666.666667 minutes = 1111.111111 hours
  • 1111.111111 hours = 46.2962 days

Akismet has saved me 46.29 days in the last 18 months. That’s 1.5 months (working non stop 24 hours a day).

Considering that I don’t work 24 hours a day – if I worked 8 hour days it would have taken me 138.88 days (4.6 months) to moderate all those comments manually – more if I took time off for weekends and holidays.

Do you think that I’m happy that I installed Akismet? You bet your life I am!

Update – as has been suggested in comments below – I would strongly encourage you to sign up as a commercial or ‘pro blogging’ users of Akismet if you’re making money from your blog. As part of b5media – ProBlogger uses a license that we pay for. This enables Akismet to keep improving.

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. Phew!

    2mn spam comments!

    I have not thought about comment spam so seriously with most blog widgets showing the number of spam comments blocked in thousands (even that sounded unreal till TechCrunch published their figures). Akismet surely is a great tool for bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing the amazing results on your site.

  2. Oh! And by the way your analysis of the time saved is a great exemplification of your writing technique. You have proven your point and how!

    Great stuff in terms of convincing your readers about the benefits of Akismet (not that many are not).

    Cheers!

  3. Wow that sure is a load of spam! I suppose with that amount you aren’t able to check it for real comments that got through are you? My blog is quite new and it’s only found around 100 or so messages so far but it’s caught a handful that weren’t spam too.

  4. Jason says:

    Akismet is the best thing since Jesus.

  5. Sean says:

    I don’t understand if the spams is done manually or by bots. I am guessing bot. I wonder why they aren’t smart enough to change their comment so that it doesn’t get detected.

  6. bob cobb says:

    Works great for me too, once and a while it will pick up normal comments, but 99% of the time it doesnt

  7. I was seeing my Akismet spam increase with time to about 50 a day, but I stopped most of it by implementing reCaptcha:

    http://recaptcha.net/

    Not only decreased automated spam in Akismet by more than an order of magnitude (now typically 1-2 a day), but also serves a useful function.

  8. Travis says:

    I guess that gives us all a goal now – you know you’ve made it big when you get 2 million spam comments!

  9. Koen says:

    WHAT !? 2,000,000 !? That’s just… wow… I thought it was bad at such a popular site, but 2 million, no, I wouldn’t even dare to think about that.

    But indeed, luckely there is Akismet. My site has the plugin working too, and cought 400 spam comments within 2 months. It’s just crazy, all those spam comments.

  10. Sunny says:

    Is there any reason why you choose Akismet over Spam Karma 2? I am using SK2 because it gives people a 2nd chance in case they are accidentally registered as spam. Just curious about your reasoning.

  11. Vik says:

    2 Million Spam comments, Wow, I just reached the 200th mark yesterday!Lol!
    Well, although its a strange ambition Darren, but I would like to catch up with you soon, as More the number of Spam = More Popular the blog! ;-)

  12. Akismet does a great job, but the spambots will continue to evolve in efforts to bypass it.

    One technique I’ve seen used recently is a comment containing one link. If you click on the link it takes you a forum thread containing dozens of spam links. Akismet is normally configured to only block a comment if it contains 2 or more links, since the comment only contains 1 link it can get past Akismet.

    I’ve had to add a few words to my comments blacklist to block these – “viewtopic”, “newtopic”, “forum” and “board” have stopped these spam messages in their tracks :-)

    Another spam technique I’ve seen recently is a comment containing one link which has tinyurl in the link name, which again links to a spam site.

    Just goes to show how these spambots try to get pass the spam protection out there.

  13. This article was so helpful! I get spam every single day, and it’s so sad when you go to your admin and see comments to moderate… and then it’s spam. =(

  14. James D Kirk says:

    I’ve recently also started using reCAPTCHA, more for the service of decoding those scanned words from books, than for the spam blocking service. Still, some spam comments do get by. And akismet captures them. Just approaching 100, so got a ways to go.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if there was some sort of metrics that allowed you to see the number of comment spams a site has over a period of time and compared that to their page rank, visitor counts, etc.? I believe the more popular a site the more spam comments it will get. That being said, I suppose you want to see high numbers of spam comments. Bring them on!

  15. Ken Dahlin says:

    I’ve even heard of a site that claims to have reached the 100 million mark. Amazing how prevalent comment spam is these days. I’ve never researched it, but the spam tools must be incredibly easy for people to use to generate that much garbage.

  16. nika says:

    Thats truckloads of spam sashimi and spam enchiladas.

    I use akismet and spam karma 2.. I do not screen my caught spam because 1) I have never seen a mis-caught spam and 2) life is too short.

  17. cmanlong says:

    Does anyone know of an implementation of Akismet for Blogger?

  18. Phil says:

    A short while back my spam had almost come to a halt, I had Akismet wiping out anything on posts over a month straight away and Bad Behaviour doing the business on bots up front. There seems to have been a resurgence recently though.

    2,000,000 spam is insane though, I’m climbing towards 20,000 at the moment, but then you’ve probably had that many real comments here.

    Akismet is a life (and time) saver!

  19. martin says:

    That is a lot of spam indeed. Now, could I interest you in some viagra?

  20. Jake says:

    I have been continually shocked by the amazing amount of spam. I sure wish it wasn’t around, but it is and I am thankful for Akismet.

  21. Alain says:

    Yes!!!
    Akismet is amazing! Lots of spambots target my blog, typcially always the exact same post. I installed akismet last week and I haven’t had to manually filter more than a handful of spam messages.

  22. Brad V. says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of spam! I guess I’m lucky because my blog is about literature and writing, which doesn’t seem to be targeted by spammers and spambots. Of course, my blog is still fairly new so I don’t get a lot of comments in general.

    I wish Typepad had some of these cool plugins that WordPress has!

  23. Darren, how many comment spams do you get per day?

  24. Stefan says:

    I have a simple math captcha, no askimet, and only about 1 spam every 10.000 visitors.

    Life without Akismet – am I missing something…? ;-)

  25. Rhea says:

    Oh, sweetie, I know what you mean! This tool has been like magic. I am only up to 40,000 or so. But one day…

  26. Missylicious says:

    Wow, insane 2 million.

    I still manually filter out spam. Sometimes Akismet still miss out 1 or 2 legit comments.

  27. Darren maybe you should link to the section on the Akismet site where they suggest that bloggers should actually pay for a commercial license if they are making money from their blog. Certainly your math calculations would suggest a positive ROI for a $50 investment and it is good to support a worthwhile project.

  28. Akismet? Another item for the newcomer to learn about. I can only dream of having so much spam. What will I learn about next?

    I’m still trying to finish reading all the information here at Problogger in the hope of trying to catch up to all of you.

    My thanks to Darren and all of you that have left comments as it has really helped me to learn more everday.

  29. Aruni says:

    Akisment is great. I realized soon after I submitted my entry post for the Last 24 Hour compeition that instead of Google juice I should have put in the word Akismet in my little random poem. :-)

    I still moderate but I don’t have near the traffic you do. I’ve seen a few Spam comments awaiting moderation so I’m playing around with the links feature. Most spam has two or more links but now there is spam with no links in the post or one that seem to get through.

    If my traffic increases as a result of me participating in this contest and recently being named an SOB by Liz Strauss then I will probably have to quit moderating because I certainly don’t have an extra 4.6+ months available… :-)

  30. Costa says:

    I don’t know why, but ever since I upgraded to WordPress 2.3, Akisment seems to have lost it’s spam killing power. I’m quite sure I got the latest version, is there some other configurations required?

  31. That’s a lot of spam. Akismet catches about 2 spam comments or so per day for me. :p

  32. Costa, spammers have been using some slightly different methods since around the same time as 2.3. Give it a bit and it’ll go back to normal.

  33. Josh says:

    I’m not surprised, given that it has caught almost 650 comments on my tiny little blog. I’m not sure if that’s counting from when I switched hosts in July or when I first installed wordpress for my blog in March, though. Either way, that’s a lot of spam.

  34. I use Spam Karma and Bad Behavior on my blog – the combination has helped reduce my comment spam greatly.

    The Dividend Guy

  35. Collin says:

    Thats crazy is it fair to say I hate spam!

  36. Mike Panic says:

    I think the 2nd best thing I’ve done besides enabling Akismet is installing the did you pass math plugin that requires people who leave comments to do a simple math addition problem. Yes it impacts the user experience, but I don’t think it detracts from it so bad that it is not worth using. My one blog was getting 30-50 spam messages caught per day with Akismet, the number has been reduced to 5 or under per day since installing the math plugin.

  37. Rob Schultz says:

    Wow! That number is simply staggering! It’s always the simple tools that are easy to forget about, but its also these tools that let me sleep peacefully at night.

  38. David Cheong says:

    2million, we are talking about 2mil, those bot/spammer really doesn’t given up easily. Long live akismet. Its a good thing that you’ve installed the plugin, darren.

  39. 2 million comment spam! wow that’s really impressive because it means you have a lot of traffic. Thanks for akismet. I really hate those spam because it will take a lot of your productive time.

  40. But I am caught says:

    yes Darren..many of those comments in those caught are my own.. somehow akismet is catching my blog www[dot]nofullstop[dot]com as spam and I am not able to comment on many blogs..

    almost all as all use akismet..

    I figured that akismet was catching the internal back links which I was leaving from my posts to other posts of mine as spam so I marked them as “not spam” but nothing has improved since then..

    Lara told me that she saw in your spam list another name Salman spamming the comments so it might be the reason why my comment was being caught..so I tried other names to comment but whenever I enter my blog URL then it has to get caught in the spam list..

    What to do??? I AM NOT A BOT :(

    I hope this one dose not gets stuck there…

  41. I use bad behavior and akismet and both work great hand in hand – I still get some that bypass both but its better than working 8 hours to just filter spam

  42. Tim Broder says:

    Thanks a lot for the tip. I’m going to have to look at it when I get home though as its blocked here at work

  43. Yep, my Sciencebase site passed the million mark a while back, certainly astounding how deeply runneth the crapflood. I used the Auntie Spam greasemonkey script in Firefox so that I can quickly scan a random page for false positives. But, in recent weeks have all but given up on that as Akismet very, very rarely captchas genuine comments mistakenly

    daveb

  44. Googlelady says:

    Nice analysis here, Akismet is a MUST in all bloggers.

  45. My dashboard shows “Akismet has protected your site from 59,323 spam comments.” and that is in nearly 6 months….so at an average 10k pm, 330 per day…Wow

  46. analogstuff says:

    Hi Darren,

    You are providing too good information. I have made your blog as my homepage. I really dont know that there are options even to screen spam messages.

    what world am i living ?? :)))

  47. Think of all of the spammers you’ve consigned to the poverty line. Don’t you feel guilty that you’ve forced them to actually work for their success?

  48. bill weaver says:

    Comment spam drives me nuts, but Askimet has done a great job of restoring some sanity to my life. In my experience, however, Askimet has been missing more spam lately.

    Just a nit, but did you really spend two seconds on each spam comment? Without Askimet, there’s so much spam that breezing through dozens of spams is a matter of eyeballing similar visual patterns and only looking closely at the unique ones. Still takes a long time, but two seconds?

  49. Ditto on using Akismet along with Bad Behaviour — Akismet was leaking a few through, but Bad Behaviour is fantastic.

    I had some problem with SpamKarma2… could’ve been my theme, but I’m not sure. Lots of legit folks I know getting all kinds of error messages.

  50. 2 million comment spam! You must hae a very popular and interesting site for spammers. I suppose this has to be related to the number of visiters or at least to the number of visiters according to the spammers.