making the spam bots feel comfortable

June 1st, 2007

A lot of famous people have said lots of interesting things about success. Little did I know the success I was about to experience when I opened this blog in 2003. It is today what it's always been, an outlet mostly for various gripes, observations, recent events etc., of no interest to anyone. Why blog? Because I feel like it (bad guys in movies always say "because I can"). And I also thought that in time I would find it amusing to read back old entries, relive the past so to speak, which I actually don't really do.

But it turns out that this blog does have a wide appeal after all. Why is anybody's guess. In the last 6 months or so interest has intensified to the point where I get 1,000 comments a week. The absolute majority of these are friendly, well meaning, helpful spam bots who want to make sure I hear about the best deals that can be made. Whoever said machines aren't friendly?

So, as more and more spam bots have found my blog and spread the word to all their friends, it's become increasingly important to make sure I'm a good host to this populous demographic. My spam bot friends have a lot to say, and they won't stop at arguing points for topics that were covered here a long time ago. The Wordpress community has helped me ensure that while I don't miss out on any spam comments, the human readers on here, who don't know my bot friends, and don't appreciate their intelligence and sense of humor, only see the human content.

Wordpress ships with Akismet, and you want to turn it on right away. But to decrease the number of spam comments, you may want to consider the Bad Behavior plugin in addition. It blocks certain types of traffic outright, not just posts but also pageviews.

The last two weeks I experimented to see whether it makes much of a difference. First I ran Bad Behaviour for a week, counted how many spam comments I got and how many were blocked. Then I ran for a week without it and counted the spam comments.

May 17-25
832 spam comments

866 spam comments blocked by Bad Behavior (out of a total 1,196 requests blocked in total)

May 25-June 1
1,320 spam comments

In both cases, all spam was caught by Akismet, so nothing actually gets published. But the difference is in how much spam is submitted and ends up in Akismet's temporary 15-day archive.

Conclusion: Bad Behavior is worthwhile. :)

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2 Responses to "making the spam bots feel comfortable"

  1. erik says:

    Excellent writing :D

  2. Stargazer says:

    Nice. I have had a similar spam battle. Spamfree since 10 days by just watching that bots and drawing my conclusions.