The mystery of the API numbers in your wordpress.com Administration Profile panel has now been revealed. It is part of a new benefit package for wordpress.com users. Not only will you get a free blog on wordpress.com, but the future looks like it will also give you other goodies for being a part of the WordPress Community.
The first benefit package is access to Akismet for comment spam. But it’s a little complicated, so let me clear things up based upon what I understand.
1. If you are currently a wordpress.com blogger, you automatically get Akismet installed so you don’t have to do anything.
2. If you are currently a wordpress.com blogger, and you would like to add Akismet comment spam thwarter to another non-wordpress.com blog, your API number in the Profile panel will give you access to this free service.
So what is Akimet? Akismet is one of the new services offered by the “parent” company of WordPress called Automattic, run by WordPress founder and lead developer, Matt Mullenweg. Akismet offers a new method of fighting off comment spam by out-sourcing the protection and filtration from your blog to the Akismet site. Akismet is a WordPress Plugin which connects to the Akismet site. Simply install the plugin like a normal plugin and the Akismet panel is added to your Manage Panels to monitor the spam it catches. This way, the comment spam protection is constantly evaluating the current attempts of comment spammers attacking blogs around the world and updating its database, which you have access to through your special API key.
While the major development of the Akismet WordPress Plugin is fairly done, It still needs a little work. Currently, you can only see the the name, email, and URL of the comment spammer, but not the comment itself, so it’s hard to judge if the comment is spam or not. Most of the time it is, but how would you know unless you become really familiar with how the spammers are using specific names and URLs, which you do learn to recognize over time. The neat thing is that it automatically deletes comment spam after 15 days, though I’d like to see this customizable, as many times I travel for longer periods of time unable to access the Internet. I might also like to see that time period shortened, keeping the comment spam out of my database.
Currently, prevention and protection from comment spam is a several step process. First, if your blogging tool features strong anti-spam protection, it is blocked there. WordPress users have two other add-ons, WordPress Plugins, that help stop comment spam, Bad Behavior and Spam Karma 2, which do an awesome job. I’ve been using them for almost a year and they do an amazing job stopping all comment spam. Very few ever get in.
The downside is that updating becomes “my” responsibility, though Spam Karma 2 has a feature that alerts you on the Spam Karma Panel of when an update becomes available. The goal of Akismet is to update automatically and work to protect your blog from comment spam behind the scenes so you don’t have to do the work.
Update: Ioerror has more information on Akismet that will help you understand more about the benefits and downsides of this new comment spam prevention plugin.
More Benefits for WordPress.com Users!
Matt also hints that this is the first of some neat benefits for WordPress.com bloggers. I can only imagine the possibilities, though many would be happy with more control over content design and style and more Theme choices, which will come when the WordPressMU program running wordpress.com becomes more stablized and more WordPressMU Themes become available.
So I’m asking. What cool benefits would you like to receive for being a wordpress.com user?
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