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Changing Blogging Programs Won’t Stop Comment Spam

I recently saw a question posed in a forum on whether or not the person should switch from WordPress to Blogger, Movable Type, or one of the other blogging programs and platforms in order to stop the accumulating amount of comment spam on their blog.

Honestly, do you really think comment spammers are paying attention to what you use? They hit everyone.

Yes, some blogging programs do a better job at offering you better tools at fighting comment spam, but everyone is fighting comment spam.

Do you believe one blogging program is more susceptible to comment spam than another? Or one more tolerant and resistant?

On the Blog Herald, I recent wrote “What Will Stop Comment Spam?”, an attempt to seriously explore what really works to stop comment spam at the root, not just on our blogs.

All bloggers can do is trap and prevent comment spam from releasing on their blogs and forums. None of these techniques actually stop comment spam. According to recent statistics, spam via email and blog comment spam represents over 90% of all Internet traffic.

…Comment spam has risen dramatically within the past six months. Our blogs are flooded with comment spam and hammered by spam bots not because our blogging programs can’t handle it, but because there is more comment spam attacks out there than ever before. It’s not stopping. It’s growing.

Comment spammers are obviously making money because many are opening up warehouse factories of human comment spammers in low income and third world countries to spam the world.

…Let’s publicly debate about the value of comment spam to get the news out across the blogosphere. Together, we can use our collective voices to let our message ring out, so maybe comment spammers might hear us. They certainly aren’t listening now.

We need to put an end to comment spam. But how? The battle is being fought in the blogosphere but we need to move the front to the businesses so they can get on the defensive. And lose money. Let’s hit them in the wallet. But how?

I honestly believe that changing blogging programs doesn’t stop comment spam. Nor does it increase or decrease it. It just is. Stopping it will take effort to stop the reward that comes from the root of the industry, not from the blogger’s comment spam fighting tools.

What do you think? How can we stop comment spam?


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19 Comments

  1. Posted March 12, 2007 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I use WP and get over 1,000 comment spam per day. I used to use Drupal and once had 15,000 in one day. With WP, the Akismet module catches all of my spam and I have comments set so that first-timers have to be moderated, but once allowed by me can post without the hassle of captchas or Turing tests. This system works well except for the fact that I have to regularly delete the accumulated comment/trackback spam. I’ve changed my auto-empty Akismet cycle to every two days, but that still means 2,000 spam sitting there slowing down my system.

    After several years of trying, I still don’t have any answers. I’ll just have to keep on taking out the trash.

  2. Posted March 12, 2007 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I changed from Movable Type to WordPress a year ago, not because I knew wordpress would stop it, but because wordpress had (has?) better ways of managing the comments that come through.

  3. Posted March 12, 2007 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I have used both Blogger and Movable Type besides WP. I have found WP’s Akismet, coupled with Bad Behavior and comment moderation catches all spam before it can get posted. I can only think of a few occasions when a comment spam was thrown into moderation. Bad Behavior catches many of them before they even hit Akismet. In my experience, Movable Type’s TypeKey put people off; hardly any commenters bothered to login and comment using TypeKey. I had to use additional programs, like Junkeater, to make MT viable at combating comment spam. I hate Blogger’s Turing tests. I find them annoying whenever I comment on a Blogspot blog. WP seems to do the best job at combating the spam. If the person is planning on leaving so he/she will get less spam, I think he/she will be disappointed.

  4. Posted March 12, 2007 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    There is dumb spam, and there is platform-targeted spam. And if you’re really lucky, personally targeted spam. The platform-targeted spam changes as you switch platforms. But the dumb spam and the personally targeted spam doesn’t. And eventually if your blogging platform gets popular enough, they’ll start targeting it too.

    So no, changing platforms to escape spam targeting is a losing battle. But if the new platform has better tools to deal with the spam that it will inevitably get, then that’s not such a foolish reason for switching.

    Of course, the great thing about Akismet is that its API is documented, so anyone can write a plugin for it. That may end up leveling the playing field a bit.

  5. Posted March 12, 2007 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I use WordPress and I found that with some of their plug ins that Lorelle featured work good….

    I personally use Spam Karma 2, with some other methods and I now do not have to worry about comments as much as SK2 deals with it the best.

  6. Posted March 12, 2007 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    …unless you switch to livejournal and turn off anonymous commenting :P

  7. Posted March 12, 2007 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    spammers and anti-spam defenses are evolving as predator and prey. there is no such thing as stopping spam.

  8. Posted March 13, 2007 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    Bad Behavior + Akismet works incredibly well. The combination is overpowering. Until they come up with a way to defeat that, I consider the problem solved, for now.

  9. Posted March 13, 2007 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Hey Lorelle,

    Like what you said, I think the only way to stop spam is at its roots – the spammers themselves.

    We need to re-educate the spammers :D

  10. Posted March 13, 2007 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    I mean are that many people actually looking for Viagara these days? Perhaps it’s just me, but I never click on any spam I get, so it’s not like they’re making any money off me.

    Akismet’s pretty much all I use to block comment spam. I’ve thought about using some sort of word verification system, but anything other than those image verification systems don’t seem to work too well and those verification systems are often frustrating to use. More than once I’ve tried to type what I *thought* I saw, only to end up with an ‘oops, you can’t read’ error message.

    So on 3, let’s all just stop clicking on the spam. 1, 2, 3…….

  11. Posted March 13, 2007 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    I get a few hundred per day, I guess. When I made the switch from MT to WP a couple of years ago, the spam paused temporarily, but of course it didn’t last. Fortunately, Akismet does such a great job that I don’t even use Spam Karma anymore.

  12. Posted March 13, 2007 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Yes, deep inside I hope that one thing might be more susceptible to comment spam than another.

    What with OpenID? :>

  13. Posted March 13, 2007 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I’ve never had a spam slip through here @Wordpress. Askimet does a fine job.

  14. Kate
    Posted March 13, 2007 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Not only is blog comment spam annoying for the blog creaters but the users as well. I really don’t think that spammers target one program specifically. They post what they can, where they can, it all depends on what can get through. If your program has preventative steps, they are less likly to get hit.

  15. Posted March 13, 2007 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    When I started using wordpress, I got significantly less spam than my friends who were using MT. Now, my friends who are using textpattern get significantly less than me. And there’s no spam on my Habari test install. Yet. It’s naive to pretend that there’s nothing to be gained short-term by using a less popular blogging tool, but as soon as the rest of the blogosphere catches up with you the spammers will too.

    Adam is right about livejournal, though. I haven’t had a spam comment there in three years, and I allow anonymous comments (though IPs are logged).

  16. Posted March 14, 2007 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    I’d like to see an open API for automated reporting of spam so that spam fighting tools can report back to the hosting site that they’re hosting spam.

    That would take care of the spam that’s masking behind free webspace providers.

    IE: Akismet sees spam as viagra.blogspot.com, sends an API message to blogger to let them know about the site for investigation. They look into it and nuke it.

    Then spammers would have to use their own domains, which would be even easier to blacklist.

  17. Posted March 15, 2007 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    @engtech-

    a fair amount of the spam i see comes with a web address that’s legitimate (often *.edu sites). i’m not sure how akismet would distinguish.

  18. Posted March 18, 2007 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    For a while the combination of Bad Behaviour and Akismet kept the SPAM at bay. Recently there has been a surge of SPAM getting past Bad Behaviour. Since installing challenge questions on the contact form and the comments it has stopped again… For the moment.

    The challenge question is a little more user friendly than turing numbers or CATCHPAs

  19. Posted September 16, 2007 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    Blogger is one of the blogging platform that got together to help fight comment spam. They have added the NOFOLLOW attribute to the comments. The other blogging platforms are TypePad, MovableType, LiveJournal), and WordPress.

    In the case of Blogger, some bloggers are removing the NOFOLLOW attribute because they want the links in the comments to be FOLLOWED. This post shows how: Improve
    link popularity and PageRank by deleting NOFOLLOW attribute for comments
    .


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