2-3 WordPress Plugins For Reducing Comment Spam (From 100s To <10 Per Day)

Want to know how I reduced WordPress blog comment spam significantly, using just 2-3 plugins, with no need for a CAPTCHA? Then keep reading, friend…

STOP imagePeople who know me well (especially on Twitter) will know that blog comment spam has been a major bugbear of mine for a while. I’ve tried multiple solutions, including CAPTCHAs (such as Animal Captcha, Sweet Captcha, Math Captcha, other more normal CAPTCHAs…) but experienced no joy. I also followed the steps in this guide, downloaded the plugins that were recommended and followed its instructions, but found that it just didn’t have the desired effect…

Unfortunately it’s not simply a case of purging the Spam section in one go without checking it. I get a lot of false positives (genuine comments that get filtered into the Spam section by accident), so I have to trawl through it all. One. By. One. Bearing in mind that I used to get about 100-200 spam comments everyday. Ouch. I also help to manage Cardiff Blogs (also built on WordPress) and while they don’t get as many spam comments as SEOno does, if left unchecked for a few weeks, I’ll have to filter through a few hundred…

Desperate for a solution, I stumbled upon 2 plugins and thought that I’d give them a go. The number of spam comments I receive now has reduced dramatically: from 100-200 per day to about 10. Much more manageable.

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Stick Your Fork Elsewhere… Thoughts On Matt Cutts’ “Guest Blogging Is Done” Statement

Fork imageYesterday, Google’s Head of Webspam Matt Cutts posted a new blog post containing a very strong statement:

“Stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.”

As expected, the SEO industy went nuts on Twitter (I have to admit that a lot of the responses were actually pretty funny). In the 12-ish hours or so that have passed since the announcement, there have already been some great response posts by SEO greats including Joost de Valk and Ann Smarty (to name just a few). Given that I’m a strong advocate of guest blogging, I wanted to chip in, too.

My immediate thought was this: the statement is intended to scare the spammers. People who spam guest blogging will (hopefully) be put off. But people who do guest blogging properly aren’t (or shouldn’t) suddenly be thinking of stopping everything. That would be crazy.

Here are some other thoughts…

Matt specifically mentions paid guest blogging

In Matt’s post, he complains about some guest blogging outreach that he received, especially the fact that they offered him money if they published it:

“If you ignore the bad spacing and read the parts that I bolded, someone sent me a spam email offering money to get links that pass PageRank. That’s a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines.”

I’m curious to know if Matt would’ve made such a fuss if they didn’t offer him money. Granted, it was still a lousy outreach attempt (and of all the people to target…!), but it’s true: money shouldn’t be involved in a conversation about guest blogging (more on this below).

Not all guest posting is spammy

My concern is that people will suddenly think: “oh no, guest blogging… eee!” and run for the hills. But Stephen Kenwright makes a cracking point:

YouMoz, man! I challenge anyone to read YouMoz and find one post where someone’s blatantly only done it for the SEO-ness. I’ve had the pleasure of writing for YouMoz 6 times (2 of which were promoted onto the main blog), and not once did I think: “this is gonna boost my SEOz” – if anything, it’s an added bonus.

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R.I.P. Whose Line 365 – Only 70 Days Young

Whose Line 365 Copyright Notice ScreenshotIn the last 2-3 months I’ve written two blogs posts (this one and this one) dedicated to a recent pet project of mine: a blog 365 project I started back in April called Whose Line 365, sharing YouTube clips of Whose Line Is It Anyway? on a daily basis for a year. Unfortunately it’s time to put WL365 out to pasture, way before its time, only 1/5th-ish of the way through its journey.

You see, Warner Bros. Entertainment – the copyright owners of the US-side of the show – have started to request that YouTube blocks clips of its show. I’ll admit that the reason that I went ahead with WL365 was because for years they didn’t seem to care that WLIIA clips were being shared on YouTube – just my luck that they start to care now, but I can’t exactly argue. Regardless… given the fact that a) the majority of the clips available online are for the US version of the show, b) they’re starting to disappear one-by-one with no sign of stopping, c) I don’t want to get into any trouble for sharing them and d) I’m insanely busy in other aspects of my life as it is, I’ve decided to pull the plug on the project.

R.I.P. Whose Line 365. It was fun while it lasted. You may have been a Mochrie, but you went out in Stile(s). Take Care(y).

A Blog 365 Project – 50 Days On

* Update: Unfotunately WL365 is no more… *

Calendar picIn early April I started a blog 365 project: Whose Line 365, a blog dedicated to sharing a Whose Line Is It Anyway? clip from YouTube every day for a year. As it’s just hit its 50th post, I wanted to go into the reason why I started it and also what I’ve learnt so far from the experience.

Well… the first part – the reason – is as simple as this: I love the show. The blog’s About page reveals how I came up with the idea to do it as a blog 365 project:

I once joked with my wife that “watching a Whose Line clip a day is good for the soul.” As a keen blogger elsewhere, the light-bulb moment happened, and the rest should be obvious!

I’ve had a lot of fun doing it so far. Watching a clip a day – or a few in one go – has been awesome. I was watching clips regularly anyway, so it’s not really that much more effort to grab the YouTube embed code and throw it up as a blog post.

That said, I can’t believe I’m only 1/7th of the way through it all. It already feels like I’ve been doing it forever! Even this early on I feel like I’ve learnt a lot and so I wanted to share my experiences so far as well as advice for those thinking of doing a blog 365 project of their own!

Make sure it’s viable

If you’re doing a blog 365 project that’s similar in nature to mine then make sure that there’s actually enough material to last 365 days. Fortunately for me, there’s a ridiculous amount of WLIIA scenes on YouTube. I mean crikey – I could probably do 365 clips of just Party Quirks scenes alone!

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