I never truly understood the sheer number of spam comments that could rack up in such a short amount of time until I received over 2,000 a day from my main niche website. Keep in mind that while this was my “main” niche website, it still doesn’t get 2,000 visitors a day, which means that either these were all robots posting automatically using some type of script, or something weird was going on with my Google Analytics. As it usually turns out, all of these comments were from bots, or robots, promoting spam content across the internet.
The spam comments were about everything, literally. There also seemed to be patterns on how the site would be hit with different types of spam; one day it would be about cheap Chinese knock-offs, Louis Vuitton and Nike seemed to be especially targeted. The next day, I would get spam comments about actual jobs (ex: “Call 1-800-spam-me for roof shingle repair in your hometown!”). Other spam comments are harder to catch, but usually lie in the website or email link of the submitter, like this one below.
Aha. See what they did here? If I didn’t pay much attention to anything but the content of the comment, I would think it’s an actual person who just decided to comment on my awesome post, right? Wrong. Looks like this spammer is advertising some type of plastic surgery website hoping to get another backlink from an unsuspecting blogger based on the details to the left. Believe it or not, there have been even more creative (and just plain bizarre) spam comments I’ve gotten in the past that trump this one.
As spam filters become more and more proficient in picking up on weird trends in online spam, the spammers try to get more creative in their promotions. Luckily for me – this message and 300 others were already in my spam comment filter for the day, and all I had to do was press “Empty Spam” and they were gone forever. How did I do this? The Akismet plugin.
What is AKISmet?
Askimet is an awesome, free* service that automatically filters spam comments into the spam filter, and does a damn good job at it. Akismet also seems to be a standard when it comes to WordPress, most WordPress installs come with Askimet already pre-installed for you. With just a signup and a few tweaks on your end, you can eliminate 99% of the spam that crawls through your website once and for all.
*Akismet is free for individual use. For websites offering professional services, business websites, and commercial sites, there is a monthly charge to use Akismet. You can read more about the Akismet pricing plan on their pricing plan page. Akismet will shut down their plugin if they determine that your website falls into one of the mentioned categories, so be aware or else you might end up with a ton of spam.
How to install Akismet
Installing Akismet is pretty simple, just go to your WordPress dashboard, click on “Plugins”. In the upper right hand corner there should be an option to search for Plugins. Type “Akismet” in the search box and it should be the first plugin that shows up.
After installing and activating the Akismet plugin, you need to get an API key in order to use the full features and activate the plugin entirely. You should be guided through this process when you click on the banner that says “Activate Akismet”.
Clicking on that blue link will direct you to Akismet.com, where you’ll need to create an account, choose your plan, and finally be granted an API key. Copy and paste that API key back in the Akismet plugin options.
Once you’ve copied and pasted the API key, you’re all set. In order to check for spam comments (and delete them manually), click on Comments > Check for Spam. Once your blog starts getting more traffic and has been active for a longer amount of time, you’ll really start to see why Akismet is awesome is so many ways.
Now that’s a lot of spam for just a few months. Thank you Akismet. Thank you for all you do.