With the end of 2006, begins my second year of passionate blogging, problogging is still a few years away for me and right now there’s no sense rushing things. I’m just enjoying things as they are and right now, I’m even going to look back on some aspects of what blogging has been like for me this past 2006.
Spam! Spam! More spam! In less than a few weeks of starting this new blog of mine spammers have been feastiong on my comments form particularly the one for my now defunct guestbook – which was just a static WP page with the comments turned on.
Every single day I had the constant and routine, call it mundane task of moderating the comments flagged as spam in my blog. Rescuing the legitimate ones and then deleting the rest of it all which was nearly 98% of the daily total. Frustrating indeed.
In my resolve to banish spam from my blog, I resorted to various anti-spam plugins that has been blogged about as effective, easy-to-use and one that does not cause to much strain on the server.
This 2006, I went through to using three different anti-spam plugins. It would be four since I actually used Akismet in combination with another spam killer plugins of which I’m going to review in this post which is also my contribution to the ‘Reviews and Predictions‘ group writing project by Darren Rowse.
Spam Karma 2 was the very first anti-spam plugin I used asides from Akismet, which many bloggers would consider as an in-house anti-spam measure since it’s included in every version of WordPress. I thought SK2-Akismet tandem was the ultimate spam killing system that would protect my blog.
SK2 was good, even great. However, came June of 2006, when I moved my blog to this new .com.ph domain, I dropped Spam Karma 2 and settled for Akismet as my lone spam defense since SK2 started to show weakspots as a comment spam or two were eventually successfully posted. Legitimate comments from readers and friends were being flagged as spam, it even caused heavy strains on the server. Not to mention the amount of SQL database space it was eating up. I did not come to hate Spam Karma 2, I simply got tired of it, and it was a good run altogether.
With Spam Karma 2 decommissioned from my blog, I slugged it out against spammers with just Akismet doing the hard work. I even resigned to religously emptying the caught spam every single day. That’s from June up to late November of 2006 when I finally decided that it’s time to get a new anti-spam plugin to work along side Aksimet and finally free my blog from the scurge that is spam.
Peter’s Custom Anti-spam plugin came into servicing my blog during the blog reboot I had last week in which The Four-eyed Journal was re-born. I chose this spam preventing plugin because it prevents spam from being posted to begin with instead of just eating it up until I manually delete it. It’s based on a Captcha-like visual confirmation setup in which commenters are required to enter some text from a graphic that only humans could read. Results were excellent, my blog was virtually spam-less overnight.
However, I had some concerns with this plugin. Since it uses a Captcha-like method, it would require the server I’m hosted on to work extra hard to generate those images and then store them in a cache, meaning another CHMOD 777 folder in my account that’s just sitting there waiting to be exploited by hackers. More importantly, I started recieving complaints from readers that sometimes, it’s really hard to understand the word generated in the graphic. So I went on the prowl again for a replacement anti-spam plugin. One that would still use the prevent-spam-from-being-posted-to-begin-with method but without the need for a publicly writable folder or generating graphics that are too hard to understand.
It was Jaypee who gave me the lead to this anti-spam plugin I’m currently using; Matriphe’s KeyCode plugin. It generates a human friendly plain-text keycode instead of a jumbled or distorted word in a graphic to validate a commenter to be a real human instead of those blasted spammers.
It works as effectively as Spam Karma 2 and Peter’s Custom Anti-spam plugins in keeping comment spams at bay, but without the server added server strain, human incoveniecne and opening up the server to possible hack attacks. Plus, you could completely customize the keycodes to better suit your site’s theme, the your style and personality. I now see this plugin being used by a number of blogs on my blogroll. Further proof that this plugin, along with Akismet are powerful and effective tools against spam comments. Thanks to these plugins, I’m saying goodbye to a spammed 2006 and looking forward to a spam-free 2007.