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My Love Hate Relationship with Akismet

AkismetI love Akismet – it’s a WordPress tool that has literally saved me months of work. It has blocked 4,059,113 comment spams on ProBlogger alone over the last year or two – something that I will be forever grateful for!

However every day or two I get an email like this:

“I have been trying to leave comments on your blog but they never appear! Did I say something wrong?”

Now when a blog gets as many comment spams as I do in a day there are bound to be some false positives – but over the last couple of months these emails are getting more and more frequent. The problem concerns me for two reasons. Firstly I want everyone who wants to comment on my posts to be able to. Secondly many of those whose comments are falsely blocked think that I’m the one behind their comment being blocked. I’ve had angry comments from readers as well as bloggers blogging about me censoring them. The reality is that unless a comment is explicit, spammy or defamatory I don’t delete comments.

I’m not sure what the reason is for these false positives it but it’s becoming apparent that quite a few legitimate blog readers are getting on Akimset’s blacklist falsely. It’s also seems to me that when I mark a comment as ‘not spam’ that Akismet isn’t ‘learning’ of it’s mistake because quite a few people’s comments seem to still be filtered as spam. Akismet says that it can take a couple of days to fix these but I’ve had a few people not be able to comment for weeks now. My approach is generally to ask them to contact Akismet directly. Quite often these people are unable to comment on other blogs also.

Perhaps Akismet could provide us with some way for us as bloggers to add to a whitelist of commenters. I’d love to simply take the emails of those who have problems and add them to such a list that automatically lets people comment. I’m also wondering if there’s some way of notifying commenters that are filtered as spam that this is what has happened and to point them into the direction of some sort of procedure to rectify it if they feel that their comment isn’t spam?

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 found this post using Google. I can’t be sure if i’m blacklisted by Askimet or some other spam blocking software. Is there a reliable way of finding out what spam list a person is on? Thanks for any help.

  2. I’m another person who for some some has gotten flagged by Akismet as spam within the past month.

  3. Tracy says:

    I am sure my site is on the askimet list and I am not sure what I have done wrong.
    I think there are some bloggers who are quick to just mark things as spam because they want the comment gone on their site. I do not think they realize that it blocks on millions of other sites too.
    As for contacting askimet directly that does work but only once. A friend of mine had to do this and he was told that was the only time they would remove him from the list.
    My question is what would stop a competitor from using your url on really spammy comments just to get you blocked.

  4. Tracy,

    That is a BIG worry and a huge problem which should be addressed. There are a lot of things that we dread competitors doing which are myths, such as being banned from search engines by spamming too much them with your website URL, or them having your site linked from link farm sites in order to make your PageRank drop. But this is a legitimate way of how your competition can get your site blocked from ever appearing in blog comments.

  5. Gary says:

    My site is being blocked by Askimet as well.I have left only a few comments with my url and somehow I got blocked. Not cool Askimet.

    Someone should start a business getting companies/persons competitors ( other legitimate people/companies) marked as spam by Askimet or Google etc, because it just seems so easy to do!

    /sarcasm

  6. Ryan says:

    Akismet blocks genuine commenters and even the webmasters of their own blog. This has happened to me. I am suffering using it, not a great tool. It follows a pretty lame algorithm :-