Mar
05

How to escape being bombarded by spam in WordPress

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It didn’t take long at all for the spam bots to find me.

Shortly after my new site and blog was launched in WordPress, I initially was enthused by the sudden surge in traffic I was seeing from all of the comments on my brilliant prose.

They go like this. “Heya, wonderful wordpress blog, and a fairly good understand!” OK, so not everyone is really grammatically correct, at least they seem nice. Or a simply comment. “Great post! I love it very much!” Gee, thank-you very much. Comment approved.

It doesn’t take long, however, before you realize noone is really saying anything about what you’re writing. Some comments take a really strange tone.

“Thanks for the info, been looking everywhere for information on this.” Really? Or “Just to be remembered is good enough for me. Lots of people are forgotten.” If you say so.

When you really start to tune into the hard cold fact that these aren’t real people reading your blog at all is when you start to pay attention to the URLs the bots hope to plant somewhere within your site.

One comment read: “Thank you a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily brilliant possiblity to read from this site. It is often very pleasing and as well.” Sent from the URL: www.camgirlsaction.com. Hmmm, why do I think the guy running a cam girls site is not spending a lot of time reading my blog?

A simple Google search on “How do I stop spam in WordPress” brings you to quite a bit of advice, including help pages in WordPress itself and a host of other bloggers trying to battle the bots.

The first question in WordPress Help is “Why are they spamming me?” The simple answer: “Because they can” but also the fact that everyone is trying links to their web pages so search engines — namely Google — think their important. Does this really work? Should I hire a couple of these mysterious bots to spread my URL far and wide? I don’t think so.

So your next move — unless you want to spend hours each day marking tons of spam comments as spam — is to find a good widget that forces the spammers to actually prove they are human beings.

WordPress has an FAQ on Combating Comment Spam that will take you directly to the WordPress Plugin Directory. Search for “spam” in the 13,500 plugins, and that will narrow you down to some 598 or so. Spam clearly is a problem.

So I went back to Google, this time looking for a recommendation on a decent WordPress spam tool. I came up with the “Match Comment Spam Protector.”

Fortunately, I have a very savvy website designer, who built my custom site in WordPress. I asked him if he would install the widget for me, since I’m a bit leery of messing with any HTML code in the site myself although widgets generally are pretty simple to install. Josh Divine, with PRGM2 in Boulder, jumped right in to my rescue from the spam bots. Now, only time will tell.

Can bots solve math questions? One of the first comments on the Comment Spam Protector page is “I’ve installed this plugin, but still get spammed. Why?” The answer was to check and make sure the spam isn’t coming from trackbacks instead of comments.

I’ll know pretty soon if this works. This morning I had nearly 50 spam comments waiting for approval in my email. I just deleted them all. So by tomorrow morning I’ll find out if bots can now answer math questions. I sure hope not.

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