When I first started this blog, I was not very concerned about spam. I figured that the Akismet spam filter knew how to identify spam better than I could. I read some of the comments and found that some of them were obvious examples of spam. These comments had nothing to do with the topic of my posts, seemed to be advertisements, and contained one or more links. Here is an example that might have ended up in your spam filter as well:
Other comments, however, are not as easy to recognize as spam. Recently, I was fooled by one spam comment because it seemed somewhat related to the content of my blog. I did not think it was spam until this happened:
Perhaps unspamming that one comment led to all the other similar spam messages. This incident made me wonder if there was a way to distinguish spam from ham (legitimate comments).
One helpful forum post I looked at is called “comments being deemed spam.” Although this post was started by someone who actually wanted to disable the spam filter, the other posters provide some links that offer additional advice about identifying spam. One of these links also deals with pingback and trackback spam.
Here are a few important facts I learned from this post:
- “Over 80% of all comments sent to the WordPress.com domain every day are spam.”
- Spam may contain malware and viruses that could take down blogs if opened.
- No, the Akismet spam filter cannot be disabled in free WordPress.com blogs.
If you want more spam protection, what can you do? There are plug-ins available that can help you deal with spam, but free WordPress blogs cannot accept plug-ins. However, there are some other default comment spam tools available in free WordPress blogs in addition to the Akismet spam filter. Most of them are available in the Settings>Discussion panel. You can read more about these tools in “Combating Comment Spam.”
After taking a closer look at spam, I will trust the Akismet spam filter most of the time and think twice about unspamming comments from now on. I have already changed two options in the Settings>Discussion panel as a result of the “Combating Comment Spam” article.