Akismet Stops Spam

Akismet is a new web service that stops comment and trackback spam. (Or at least tries really hard to.) The service is usable immediately as a WordPress plugin and the API could also be adapted for other systems.

I must say, this has been one of the more rewarding things I’ve worked on lately — when people tell you they’re able to spend more time with their family because they’re not spending 30 minutes a day dealing with spam it really puts things in perspective. If nothing else, I hope this makes blogging more joyful for at least one person.

Anyway, try it out, install it for a friend, link it on your blog. The more you use it the more effective it becomes. It’s a virtuous cycle that will hopefully curb the spam arms race.

Update: The reviews are starting to come in. Here’s some one with stats (from when the service was still in development).

50 thoughts on “Akismet Stops Spam

  1. Isn’t this a little bit “big brother”-like? Watching all those comments coming in and being filtered … I prefer local solutions where I have complete control over what is happening. Nevertheless, I suppose it’s a good service for people who like it simple and want something that “just works”(tm) 😉

  2. While the first version had a small village watching every comment as it came through the system and manually approving or nuking it, we found this didn’t scale quite as well (okay there was a revolt) and so we became forced to use computers to do the heavy lifting. It was difficult at first, but I can promise that the computer makes no judgements as it sees your comments fly through its system. As one said to me the other day, “Bits is bits.” We’ve had a submission that encrypts and hashes and anonymizes the comment before sending it to Akismet, but that makes it awfully hard to figure out whether it’s spam or not.

  3. I have people that are using what I see as splogs that trackback and ping me. They are perfectly legit tb/pings but I do not want their linkage from me. SpamKarma2 allows me to specify that these incoming links should be shot on sight – it never misses. Does Akismet allow the same ? Can I add my own list of undesirables ?

  4. Podz, from what you describe it sounds like they’d be blocked as automated spam but feel free to email me a few of the comment notifications and I’ll run them through the system to double-check.

  5. Seems like a good idea. Really, my opinion of such a service hinges on a few factors:
    – the non-evilness and dedication of the person or people in charge (you qualify)
    – the reliability of the service (which I’m sure you’ll be working on)
    – the stability of the business model (free for personal, charge for business works for me)

    So I’m optimistic about this. I’m still going to leave Bad Behavior on, as it will catch stuff earlier, and save server resources, as well as stop non-comment-spam bots (e-mail harvesters, some ref spammers, etc), but I’ve disabled SK2 for the time being, to see how Akismet holds up.

    I’m going to give it a few weeks, and if it seems to be exceeding or matching SK2’s accuracy, I’ll be installing this for my WordPress-based clients. Is it fine for me to just use my API key for my clients? I don’t want to register a WordPress.com blog just for the purpose of getting an API key.

  6. This has been the absolute best spam defense I’ve used, and I’ve used them all. It will only get better over time. When I began beta testing, I totally dropped ALL spam defense (Bad Behaviour et al.) and only left the “must have previously-approved comment” enabled.

  7. I don’t quite understand how to obtain the wp.com API key. I’ve applied for an invite, but I’m guessing the invite won’t be sent anytime soon now. Wouldn’t it be logical to supply the keys more freely, considering that greater use will lead to greater effectiveness?

  8. Is this only available to WordPress.com users? The instalation instructions certainly lead be to believe this is the case. How do I get an API key without either signing up for an invite and new blog or handing over bundles of cash?

  9. Sebbi, it’s obviously opt-in (minus WordPress.com blogs which are hosted and are subject to prying eyes by their nature). If you want a local solution, keep on using your local solution. I installed Akismet last night and have had only 2 (out of 50 now) spam comments make it to my moderation queue and 0 make it to my blog.

  10. I’ve installed it on all three of my WP blogs, though I’m still running SpamValve as a first-line defence on my main site. If you’re interested in my SpamValve spam IP data, just let me know.

  11. Pingback: Akismet at SHiNY
  12. I NEED this. Really. And that invite from wordpress.com that I have been hoping to get hasn’t showed up. How long will I need to wait before I can start using comments in my blog again? (yes, it was really THAT bad).

  13. Matt, when this plugin catches spam from the same site (Lets say 6 spam links), It shows only the first spam link and when clicking “Not spam”, It shows the next one until the last one. Why doesnt it just show all 6 on 1 page? Too much clicking…

  14. Never mind my message above, I followed the Flock.

    Matt: Are you aiming at taking over the (blog) world? Really? Because if you are, I’d like to join you.

  15. I was lucky enough never to have been troubled by spam up until a week ago, but when they finally did get to me, boy did I know about it! I installed SK2 and BB at the time, but for some reason SK2 didn’t seem to work properly, and although I emailed one of the developers (who was extremely helpful), unfortunately I still found that a lot of spam was getting through – 16,450+ in fact – mainly from Forex Trading, Poker sites and ringtones.

    I’ve only had Aksimet installed for about 12 hours, but I agree with Craig Hartel – it’s certainly impressive so far. At this point in my day I’d usually have over 200 spam comments, since installing Akismet I’ve had NONE.

    Sorry, that’s just a long winded way of me saying a big thank you to you, and to all the other developers involved!

  16. “they’re able to spend more time with their family because they’re not spending 30 minutes a day dealing with spam”

    Surely I’m not the only one slightly weirded out by this? Priorities people!

  17. “they’re able to spend more time with their family because they’re not spending 30 minutes a day dealing with spam”

    If you fight spam rather than see your family, then you might be a blogging maniac.

  18. I think Akismet is the best automated spam killer that actually gets better as it learns from the whole community marking new spam comments as spam. It just WORKS.

  19. Where can we go to report bugs? How do you pronounce Akismet?

    P.S. an easy bug on your akismet website is that the “I have a testimonial!” radio button on your contact page does not have a label.

  20. Thanks you!

    This was time well spent. My first blogging experience was setting up a wordpress blog that got a ton of spam within the first week and I shut it down precisely because I didn’t have the time to deal with the spam.

  21. Except that you need a WordPress.com account to get the API key to use the plugin – I’m suspicious of these ‘services’ that are springing up around WordPress.com (Flock and Akismet) – and their lack of an apparent business model. I’ll stick with my guaranteed-to-be-spy-free copy of Spam Karma 2 if you don’t mind.

  22. Thanks you!

    This was time well spent. My first blogging experience was setting up a wordpress blog that got a ton of spam within the first week and I shut it down precisely because I didn’t have the time to deal with the spam.

  23. I haven’t try it before, but i think its nice idea to try using Askimet. Till now, because my website not too popular, so spam bot not yet try bugging my website :). Prevent is better that threaten 😀

  24. Well, it sounds interesting and I’m sick of deleting those three word sayings that contain the word “mature” in them and refer to back-ended sexually explicit crap.


    How exactly does one get the API key? What’s this with getting some blueish web browser to sign up for an API? Currently, without explicit instructions, the barriers to entry are mighty high. (though comment #39, the pingback from The World According to Sebbi clarifies immensely… still, the fact that it takes nearly 40 posts to elicit such enlightenment is discouraging.) Would you please be explicit about what a poor beleaugered weblogger needs to do?

  25. whats this shit about having to get Flock then sign up for a blogging site that I’m not even going to use just to get a key so that I can use this on my personal site. This would be like SixApart making me sign up for LiveJournal to download MovableType. Faggy bullshit I say!

    Also, I can’t find the download link on the Akismet site, probably because it’s located in that dreamworld called Web 2.0 and I’m guess I’m not using a sufficiently stupid browser (like Flock) to see it.

    So, where do I download it and why do i need to have a key again?