Abandoning Akismet for Privacy and Control

I’ve recently switched the particular anti-spam plugin that I use on my websites (those I run on WordPress anyway). I deleted Akismet when I discovered that I was having some of my own comments deleted before I ever saw them, because Akismet was treating them as spam.

Not all comments were deleted or treated as spam, mind you, but any comments where I had tried to use a URL that didn’t lead directly to my homepage.

There are instances where not linking to the homepage makes more sense, for example, when I am posting on a topic specific blog but my blog is more general in nature. In those cases, I prefer to link to a relevant category or tag page (because I use categories and tags in VERY specific ways on several sites, so I can better organize and share my content). Occasionally, I like to link to a specific page on WordPress too, when that seems more logical.

Akimet seems not to care about logic, only controlling the web and who and how we comment on blogs.

Apparently, it doesn’t matter how grammatically correct you are (most spam fails a grammar test), how coherent you try to be (again most spam completely fails in this regard), or how relevant you make your comment. Akismet doesn’t like links that don’t go either directly to your homepage or your /blog/ index.

I found this out the hard way when a friend and I (who often exchange comments because we have the same interests and find each others’ material comment-worthy) were penalized because we had not linked directly to our homepages in the Author website field. My comments ended up in her spam box, and her comments ended up in mine.

So, as someone who isn’t above holding a grudge, I deleted Akisment and went looking for a better alternative.

I found Growmap’s Anti-Spam Plugin, installed it, and haven’t had a “spambot” comment make it through yet. GASP put me back in control of comments and I like that.

Check it out if you’re interested in an Akismet alternative.

I use Simple Trackback Validation (with Topsy Blocker) to handle trackback spam.

5 thoughts on “Abandoning Akismet for Privacy and Control”

  1. Hello Perpetualized,

    I am very interested in what you believe Akismet is doing. I have seen specific internal URLs blacklisted but did not notice it blocking all non-home page URLs.

    It has been a long time since we deleted Akismet in all our blogs and almost all the blogs I comment in use the GrowMap Anti-spam plugin instead of Akismet now so I can not easily test to see if that is what Akismet is doing or not.

    I would not be surprised; however, it would have to be tested to find out by trying different internal page URLs – preferably some you never used when commenting – to see if Akismet now blocks ALL non-home page URLs or only the ones that have been flagged by some blogger.

    What everyone must understand is that there is no consensus on what spam is so even if you always write unique, sincere comments that are specifically about the post we’re you’re commenting you CAN and often will be flagged as a spammer.

    If you get any more details do please drop by and let me know? There are many posts on my blog about Akismet issues and there is a G.A.S.P. tab at the top of my blog that leads to the page with the most information about that plugin. I linked that page to this comment.

  2. I would be happy to answer any questions about Akismet as their representatives have personally tried to get me to not say their plugin deleted comments bloggers never see. Needless to say, because it DOES do precisely that I refused to back down.

    There is (or possibly was – I haven’t checked lately) a box in the configuration of Akismet with very vague wording that most bloggers THINK meant it would delete any comments left in spam for more than 30 days. Since even hobby bloggers usually check for real comments more than once a month, they often check that. What it actually does is IMMEDIATELY delete any comment left in a post 30 days old or older made by anyone who is blacklisted.

    Almost all intelligent commenters end up blacklisted because there is no consensus what spam even is. I mentor and interact with huge numbers of bloggers and many of them are marking comments as spam if:

    1) They don’t like the comment
    2) They do not already know the commenter
    3) It links to a site that in connected to anyone who sells anything

    Even experience bloggers mark as spam REAL comments – no matter how astute – left by business owners or fellow bloggers who offer anything at all for sale on their sites. I have spent many years trying to convince them to stop doing that.

    On top of that, there is no reason Akismet can not stop all the offensive spambot comments so one does wonder WHY they don’t stop them. I’m sure you can come up with the most logical reason.

    When Akismet was letting through 1000 comments a day and it was taking me two hours per day picking out the real comments from that sea of spam, the mutual peer who created FeedBlitz (the leading alternative to Google’s FeedBurner which they seem to be letting die) convinced the creator of CommentLuv (a plugin to support small businesses and other bloggers) to create an anti-spambot plugin which he named after my blog.

    G.A.S.P. immediately blocked ~96% of all comments which tells me that almost all spam is spambot generated. GASP does NOT block manually left comments and there are now dozens of plugins that generate phony trackbacks which has led many bloggers to now block ALL trackbacks.

    Spammers are the lowest of the low because they steal what is most precious to us: our time and their actions have destroyed trackbacks which were the best way to spread important information. They also ruin what could be real relationships because bloggers are deleting real comments right and left and insulting their readers in their quest to never publish any spam comments.

    They are focused on the wrong thing because if you delete real comments people invested their valuable time in writing you are slamming the door in their faces just as having a guard posted at the door of your business who grilled potential buyers would turn them away. Where we can not comment we do not read nor share – so those bloggers are killing their blogs and have no idea what is doing it.

    Many major sites do the same thing. They are more concerned with appearance than substance so they delete most comments because they “ruin” their image. Just because someone’s native language is not English or their grammar or spelling aren’t perfect does NOT mean they have nothing valuable to contribute. Those with experience have the most wisdom on any topic – but they did not necessarily pay attention to grammar in school!

    I can provide additional information about the phony trackback and Akismet issues. Just drop by and ask in my comments. Details on GASP are linked to this comment.

    1. I find myself agreeing with you wholeheartedly and although I don’t know nearly as much as you do about Akismet, I do know that I’ve quit using it in favor of the GASP plugin. I much prefer the control GASP allows and DON’T like Akismet, especially since they marked one of my comments as spam on MY BEST FRIEND’S WEBSITE where my comments had been approved many times before. She had to go looking for it when it didn’t show up.

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