TheMillionairesLife.com – like any other website that allows their readers to submit comments on posts – receives a lot of comment-spam, usually advertising websites with fake designer stuff, medicines, gambling services, or other junk that doesn’t add anything to your life.
Comment spam is a lot more costly than the annoying email spam because it either wastes the time of the author, who manually has to remove all those comments, or it wastes the time and attention of your reader who has to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Roughly a month ago I started to use the WordPress Akismet. I must admit that this decision is saving me a shitload of time and frustration. And best of all.. You decide what you want to pay for Akismet.
How Powerful Is Akistmet?
to keep it simple, I will show you a screenshot of my Akismet stats. Please note that it’s only the 7th off February now.. so that is 1300 spam comments in just 7 days time!
How Akismet Works
Akismet is based on the principle that once comment is identified by one recipient, and corroborated by several others, all of these similar messages will be marked as spam, immediately reducing the spammer’s potential audience from several thousands of people a day, to the few that report the message when it first arrives. Akismet works, approximately like this…
When a new comment is received by the website, it is put in a queue to be checked against a global database to define if it matches any messages that are known to be from spammers, this might be based on several points like:
- the IP addresses of the sender
- The URL that is being promoted
- Several strings in the message content that can be matched by regular expressions
- or several other of potential techniques that have not (yet) been disclosed by Akismet
Messages that are identified as spam are automatically separated, and the moderator then has up to 15 days to check through all of those flagged spam messages (in case there are any false positives among them) before they are removed permenantly. Spam comments that are identified by Akismet will never be visible on the website, and the spam checking interface is extremely simple to use.
There are people that may be concerned about the fact that every message they post or receive is first going to be sent to a third party for analysis. When one will consider that these comments are supposed to be shown to everyone on a public website, the privacy concern might fade a little, but most people are still writing down their private information in blog comments because the web is used by people, and people make many mistakes, so it is a concern that can not be completely ignored.
One possible solutions to the Privacy issues might be for Akismet to provide replicated access to their Spam Database (probably on a view only basis) so that there are multiple websites that could provide this service. Various privacy concerns could be offset by giving the website owner the possibility to select which service provider is used, or to provide their very own service. Another possible solution for privacy concerns can be the ability to mark some posts for manual checking only, thus ensuring a better message privacy.
What Akismet does so effectively, is silence those people who are abusing the internet, however, there is potential for this capability to be misused as well, because it becomes achievable to mount a censorship attack on an individual or on a brand – i.e. If you have some programming skill, it is not difficult at all to create dummy messages, marking them as spam and submit it to Akismet. If the spam-identification mechanisms are configured too sensitive or simplistic, then it might be possible to censor someone who has not actually sent any spam.
Akismet Download & Installation
If you are familiar with installing WordPress plugins, it is all a very simple process.
Akismet comes standard with every new WordPress Installation (at Plugins) and can also be downloaded or uploaded from there.
You can also get a copy from the Akismet download page.
Installation is very simple, just add the php file to your wp-content / plugins directory and enable it in your administration panel.
Enabling the Akistmet plugin gets you 80% there, but you are not done yet.
In order to protect yourself against spammers, Akismet uses an API key. You must obtain your own API key before the plugin will begin to work for you. The good news is that you decide how much this will cost you. You can chose from $0 up to $129 a year. One Akismet API key will work on multiple blogs..