Akismet is the system that WordPress.com users like myself that manages comment spam. It is a great system. I am so glad that it is available for free. However the system isn’t perfect, and I wanted to share what you can expect by using the free product.
Right now for every 2 posts I write, I have almost one spam comment per post. If I didn’t have the Akismet system my blog would be overwhelmed with junk. I would not have enough time to keep posts clean without the current system. Most of the time the spam is obvious. Signs include misspellings, bad grammar, non logical comments, and non sequitur. However in the last few months the posts have gotten more human. At times they seem like real people. Comment spam is evolving.
In addition spam writers will normally have gmail, hotmail or yahoo addresses. The most common spam messages have yahoo but a few gmail references as well. What would be awesome is if Akismet would allow you to permanently ban domains by default. Then there would be less that you have to manually select are not spam. If you have the money the paid product makes this easier.
Probably the most fascinating with message spam is that they think increasing the frequency will increase their success. Sometimes you will have 5, 10 or even 20 copies of the same message posted to different posts. Which then makes you wonder how automated this process has become. Sometimes you even see the mistakes they have done in their programming. One time I got one that said “Insert your message here”. So clearly spammers are not the brightest bunch.
I don’t blame WP for spam problems. I feel grateful that WP gives us this free platform to help others. I don’t blame Akismet either. They need money to continue to do what they do. It would be nice if somehow spam could be gone, or the real costs transferred to those who abuse the system in this way. I think Spam is ultimately self-defeating. You can’t support a business model on something that isn’t real, and eventually people will catch on and a backlash will occur. I await those days with patience.