Have you been getting spam comments to your WordPress blog? If not, it’d be rare if it never happens to you unless you already have things on lock down. Even then, the odd one might find its way through your comment spam filters.
Spammers think they are clever but they aren’t. You often will get something along the lines of:
“Great informative article. I’m happy to have found you through the Google search engine. I have subscribed to your RSS and I can’t wait for more valuable content to come my way.”
I’ve seen those types of comments on “Hello World” posts. I’ve also been to blogs where the blog owners hadn’t realized they were spammed and allow the comment to go through and even take the time to politely reply.
Other times I see something simialr to:
“Hey, I wrote an article on this same topic, you can find it here: insert-spam-link-here”
Often, the link is not on topic at all, other times it is.
Akisment is the First Line of Defense
Akismet picks up on all kinds of spam attempts and it learns from the collective global use of it. It ships with WordPress and it is simple to get set up.
Gone are the days though where it is free to use on business sites. Akismet always required a WordPress.com API key, but now the key costs money when used in a business setting.
It’s worth getting to pick up some of the minor pains, but things’ll still slip on through. Nothing advanced here, moving along.
Blacklist Some Common Spam Terms
In your WordPress dashboard there is an area where you can type in some words that can be “blacklisted” from use in comments. This way, any time the words are used in any of the comment fields, the comment is assumed to be spam.
Will there be false positives? Sure, but not as many true positives is my guess.
Go to Settings >> Discussion in WordPress and find the Comment Blacklist box. Type in your blacklisted terms, one per line.
Or you can download this giant list and paste those values in there to give you a head start. Thanks to Grant Hutchinson from slorp for the list.
Naturally, if your site is about any of those topics you can remove some words. It’s kinda big though.
Click Save Changes to apply this new layer of comment spam protection. This filtering is done before the Akismet filtering.
Video: Setting Up A Comment Blacklist
Watch in the video below where I show you how to add the blacklisted words for comments, and discuss other comment spam practices.
Maybe Switch To Facebook Comments To Alleviate Spam
Now, you could abandon WordPress comments altogether. This would also abandon the need for Akismet and the blacklist. You could implement Facebook comments (or some other 3rd party commenting system like Disqus) instead.
Now, with Facebook, people would be less likely to spam because it would affect their own personal Facebook accounts. As a side benefit your content starts to show up in the commenter’s news feeds so it can get more exposure.
It’s a lot more difficult to set it up to get email alerts for new comments, so comments may go without response unless you figure out how to set that up. But, including comments in the Social Graph has other advantages as well. It’s worth looking into deeper.
With that said, may large high traffic sites that I visit have abandoned Facebook comments in favor of Disqus. It might be worth checking to see what all the fuss is about. I personally have only got so far as to add in Facebook comments without the comment alerts on some sites. My other sites still use Akismet and blacklistings to keep the comment spam at bay.