Blog Comment Spam – Should I Restrict Comments?

By , May 4, 2010

Because of a flood of spammy comments, I’m considering whether I should change the way I allow comments to be posted on this blog. 

I would prefer to leave the blog “open” so that anyone can post a comment without “registering” here, with the comments hidden until I approve them, but unfortunately there is so much “comment spam” that this may become unworkable.

If you don’t know, “comment spam” refers to posted comments which are intended solely to publicize another web site. They come in two flavors: one is relatively subtle, including a vague comment like “I agree with you entirely, thanks for sharing this!” or “Thanks for writing this, it helped me with my homework assignment,” together with a URL linking to a spam site (mostly “phishing” sites).  The other “flavor” is a lengthy string of linked keywords, often arranged to appear to be sentences, but always total gibberish. These generally include at least a dozen links to site claiming to offer Viagra and such.

I have three options:

  1. Leave things as they are, and just review the comments once a week or so, approving any that are legitimate and deleting the rest.
  2. Limit comments only to people who have “registered” here (making it more cumbersome and time-consuming for “first-timers” to post a comment).
  3. Disable comments completely.

I’d appreciate any feedback or suggestions, either via a comment below or via email.

7 Responses to “Blog Comment Spam – Should I Restrict Comments?”

  1. Mark Welch says:

    I’ve just finished installing Akismet, a WordPress plug-in and web service that is designed to detect and flag spam comments automatically. I’ll see how this works over the next few weeks.

  2. Mark Welch says:

    I’ve also just installed a “Captcha” tool, which requires visitors to type a short string of characters shown in an image; this is an extra tool to discourage automated spambots.

    In addition, I’ve added a sharing & bookmarking tool that appears at the end of each post, allowing folks to bookmark the page or share the link via social networking sites.

  3. Mark J. Welch says:

    These two tools have definitely stopped the “comment spam.”

    If you’re a real person having trouble posting a comment, send me an email (mark welch at mark welch dot com). Thanks.

  4. markwelch says:

    In the past 10 days, Akismet claims to have blocked 46 spam comments. Today, I’ve disabled the annoying “captcha” plug-in, to see whether Akismet alone might be adequate to detect and filter spam.

  5. Mark Welch says:

    I’ve re-enabled the “Captcha” plug-in. While it was disabled, I saw too many “nonsense/garbage” comments which were clearly just seeking backlinks. (These are vague comments that say something like “Great article! Very helpful!” and the links were all to scammy/spammy web sites.)

  6. Mark, I don’t know about Captcha, but Akismet seems to be working for me. I wasn’t actively promoting my blog until very recently, so I wasn’t getting any spam at all. (I guess that happens when nobody knows it exists, right?) About a month ago I started getting spam, and then it was like a flood. I don’t know how they finally found me, but they did. No legitimate comments. So I recently added Akismet, and I haven’t seen any spam since. Still no comments, but better than spam.

  7. miu miu says:

    Mark, I don’t know about Captcha, but Akismet seems to be working for me. I wasn’t actively promoting my blog until very recently, so I wasn’t getting any spam at all. (I guess that happens when nobody knows it exists, right?) About a month ago I started getting spam, and then it was like a flood. I don’t know how they finally found me, but they did. No legitimate comments. So I recently added Akismet, and I haven’t seen any spam since. Still no comments, but better than spam.

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