If you run a WordPress blog, you probably use Akismet to handle and manage comments left by readers. Akismet is the default plug-in and works very well.

Or does it?

While Akismet does an excellent job in weeding out the spam comments from the legitimate ones, it does have its flaws.

Akismet is Flawed

The problem with Akismet is that it allows blog owners to specify which comments are legitimate and which are spam. This is completely opinion based and differs for each blog owner. Because of this, blog owners could inadvertently mark legitimate comments as spam. Sometimes this happens by accident, and other times they truly think the comment is spam, even if it isn’t. Obviously, one’s opinion can differ from another’s.

Once a comment gets marked as spam, any new comments that reader makes will automatically get marked as such across all blogs that use Akismet to manage comments. This is done through tracking the IP address and email address.

The system is obviously flawed. Akismet allows users to request that they be white-listed again, but it’s no guarantee that will happen.

There are other problems I could get into, such as privacy issues, but I’ll leave that one alone. Here are my two gripes I have with Akismet and why I have found a better alternative to manage comments on this blog.

1. Marking Legitimate Comments As Spam

Most likely you’ve scoured the spam folder, looking for legitimate comments to un-mark as spam. I used to spend a lot of my time doing this, as legitimate comments would get filtered out and be marked as spam, even though they weren’t.

Not only is this annoying, but it wastes so much time – time I don’t have.

2. Not Allowing Legitimate Comments At All

This was the last straw for me. It’s one thing to prevent spam comments from getting through, but when legitimate comments from readers are being blocked entirely, it’s time to make a change. A blog isn’t a blog unless readers are able to comment on posts, and I wasn’t about to ignore this problem. I needed to make a change, FAST!

I don’t know how long this was going on for, but Ana from Traffic Generation Cafe made me aware that her comments weren’t getting through. It was apparent that Akismet was blocking her comments altogether. She advised me that I find an alternative comment management plug-in to handle comments, otherwise I could be losing out on other legitimate comments, and ultimately readers. Thanks, Ana!

So that’s exactly what I did.

Akismet Alternatives

There are quite a few alternatives to manage blog comments. Some paid, some free. If you’re like me, I’m a huge fan of free stuff. Let’s take a look at 5 of them.

5 Free Anti-Spam WordPress Plug-Ins

1. Bad Behavior – Bad Behavior is a PHP-based solution for blocking link spam and the robots which deliver it.

2. Sblam! – Stand-alone PHP script or WordPress plug-in, whichever you choose.

3. AntiSpamBee – Protects your blog from spam by replacing the comment field.

4. Defensio – Defensio is an advanced spam filtering web service that learns and adapts to your behaviors and those of your users.

5. G.A.S.P – This plugin will add a client side generated checkbox to your comment form asking users to confirm that they are not a spammer. It is a lot less trouble to click a box than it is to enter a captcha and because the box is genereated via client side javascript that bots cannot see, it should stop 99% of all automated spam bots.

My Anti-Spam Plug-In Recommendation

I am currently running G.A.S.P. on this blog, and I absolutely love it. If I had to recommend a plug-in to manage blog comments, it would be G.A.S.P. I also use a plug-in called Simple TB Validation. Simple TB Validation performs a simple but very effective test on all incoming trackbacks in order to stop trackback spam.

With both of these plug-ins combined, I get very little comment spam. I still get a small percentage that I just delete, but I don’t have to go sifting through the spam folder anymore. It has saved me a ton of time, and I know it will help you manage comments more effectively.

The best part is, you won’t be turning away readers due to them not being able to comment on your blog. I urge you, consider deleting Akismet and finding an alternative. You and your readers will benefit greatly.

What Do You Use?

What are you using to manage blog comments and combat spam? Let us know in the comments below. And while you’re there, see G.A.S.P. in action by checking the little box to confirm you’re not a spammer. 🙂

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