Spam is about to Get a Tan Tan

By Ian Fernando

There are multiple plugins out there that can battle blog spam, but how effective are they? Akismet does a beautiful job making sure no spam get through. The only problem is blogs are being bombarded with comment spam all the time. I even tried a new service called Defensio, the only rival service against Akismet. There were issues with Defensio that I did not like, I was literally in my spam box editing and approving spam. I later decided to remove it and stick with Akismet. Still spam was still an issue on my blog which I do not know why. It wasn't until Simon pointed me out to a great plugin which naturally eliminated the hard work and the stress on Akismet.

Joe Tan has created a great plugin base on simple rules. If you have ever looked at your spam section within your blog, you can easily identify what is spam and what isn't. When I look at them I can easily identify obvious ones via IP repetition, user names, emails, specific words, multiple links etc. You can just point them out. What if there were rules set to scan what we see and mark it as spam, the obvious spam comments of course. Well Joe has found a great way to simply scan the comment and see if the particular comment is indeed spam! If it is obvious then a set of rules should be in place to determine if it is obvious.

From my own testing, the following 4 patterns will catch at least 90%+ of all comment spam. This will probably evolve over time (check back for updates!), but for now it works pretty well. A comment will be rejected if it matches any of the following patterns:

  • Contains 5 or more links to external sites
  • Contains nothing but links
  • Contains [url=]example[/url] style links (my blog does not support bbcode style links)
  • Contains a word that matches a short list of common spam words (for example, viagra or cialis).

As you can see there are set rules to check to make sure if the comment is indeed spam. This plugin should not be a means to replace Akismet as Akismet does a great job. Indeed, this should be working in conjunction with Akismet assuring noo spam gets through to your blog. I have just recently upgraded to the new .5 version and now it has several new features such as the reCaptcha. Prior it was just rejecting comments that were obviously spam. With the reCaptcha it gives the user an opportunity to guarantee he is not a bot and indeed a live person.

Here is a screen shots of the recaptcha, assuring the end user if they are real or not. You can view more images here.

This plugin is very powerful when it is relieving the stress off Akismet and ofcourse defending your blog from obvious spam. With the growth of spam comments within the blogosphere, there are a lot of end users creating new plugins to help us from these malicious attacks. I personally find Tan Tan Noodles Simple Spam Plugin to be a very powerful plugin in conjunction with Akismet.

Once this plugin is installed you will notice the Akismet number of caught spam comments decrease and see Tan Tan Noodles Simple Spam Plugin number increase because of the spam it has caught and relieved from Aksimet. This number will continue to grow and you will realize the obvious spam comments that has been encountered on your blog. With so simple options and easy to user interface you can add common spam keywords which will trigger the plugin, rejecting or imposing the reCaptcha screen to the end user. One more feature I forgot to mention is the plugin can scan your current rejected comments and provide you with a list of keywords that triggered the rejection. The plugin has a built in keyword list that rejects the comments naturally, but as spam comments grow and find ways to bypass many plugins the rise of spam will continue. It is great you can always add new triggered words to call the plugin and act on the spam right away!

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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