Amazing What a Simple WordPress Comment Blacklist Can Do

November 10, 2012

While very effective, I worry that my sites don’t fall inline with Akismet’s TOS, so don’t use it on any of my personal sites. Nor on those I do for clients, as I know they don’t fall under the non-commercial clause. I have never really been bothered by Comment spam on my wordpress sites though, as it is easy enough to ignore or disable comments, not to mention sometimes a ton of comment spam can provide a one-off metric of how well ranked a page or site is.

Having said that, one of my personal wordpress sites did start to get hit pretty bad and it became a pain to sort through the spam comments to find the one or two actual legitimate responses. Further, I noticed that some of my clients were bouncing emails due to spam content, which I think would likely cause issues maintaining a good reputation for their domain and server.

So, I began to look for a solution. Initially, I was going to roll my own simple WordPress comment spam plugin and got as far as playing with the comment hooks. However, I didn’t make it too much further than that after deciding to take advantage of the Discussion->Comment Blacklist setting.

After spending a few minutes going through my old-spam to generate a keyword list, then updating it for the next few weeks when stuff squeaked through, I have been able to cut-out the overwhelming majority of comment spam on that site. I think the Comment Blacklist alone has been responsible for catching over 1.5K spam comments over the past few months. With only around 80 words cutting out probably ~90% of the spam on that site.

How efficient this is, especially on a large scale is debatable and it doesn’t do much to block the off-topic praise and copy/paste spam*. However, it really has been effective on that particular site. I still want to try to come up with my own solution to get the other bit, to reduce overhead and for fun, but using the keywords has been a really easy and quick fix.

*I am sure there is a better term, but this includes the “You are such a great writer” spam that plays upon peoples ego, as well as the comments that have been copied from other, sometimes legitimate comments, and then mass submitted to multiple sites.

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