84% Of Comments Are Spam!

written by BlogEx on March 11, 2009 in WordPress Wednesdays with 12 comments

In this installment of WordPress Wendesdays I want to talk about a plugin I have used with great success. As the post states, about 84% of all comments are spam according to Akismet.com.

I was shocked when I read that number.

In order to deal with the growing onslaught of blog spam, CMS’s like WordPress have had to develop technologies that prevent all those “Buy Viagra Here,” comments, while at the same time allow real user comments to make it through.

Along the way, I’ve tested several different plugins to help combat spam, and I wanted to share one with you that has really impressed me.

Discovering this plugin was the result of another equally challenging dilemma for me: how to find a good contact form for WordPress, and although a spam blocker with a built-in contact form might seem like an unlikely pairing, I’ve really enjoyed this one.

Several contact forms are either too complicated for me to understand quickly (I wanted something that was basically point, click, work) or not robust enough in terms of features/customization.

While searching one day, I stumbled across WP-Spamfree. Here’s a little more information about it (we’ll start with the spam blocker features).

WP-Spamfree Spam Blocker [my comments]

  1. Virtually eliminates automated comment spam from bots. It works like a firewall to ensure that your commenters are in fact, human. [nice, sounds good]
  2. A counter on your dashboard to keep track of all the spam it’s blocking. The numbers will show how effective this plugin is. [not as big a deal to me]
  3. No CAPTCHA’s, challenge questions or other inconvenience to site visitors – it works silently in the background. [really like this feature…who likes captchas anyway]
  4. Includes drop-in spam-free contact form. Easy to use – no configuration necessary. [want I originally wanted]
  5. No false positives, which leads to fewer frustrated readers, and less work for you. [not sure what this means…but it sounds good :)]
  6. You won’t have to waste valuable time sifting through a spam queue anymore, because there won’t be much there, if anything. [awesome]
  7. Powerful trackback and pingback spam protection. [good]
  8. Easy to install – truly plug and play. Just upload and activate. (Installation Status on the plugin admin page to let you know if plugin is installed correctly.) [very accurate description]
  9. The beauty of this plugin is the methods of blocking spam. It takes a different approach than most and stops spam at the door. [like that]
  10. The code has an extremely low bandwidth overhead and won’t slow down your blog (very light database access), unlike some other anti-spam plugins. [nice. I don’t like having numerous plugins running for this very reason]
  11. Completely compatible with all cache plugins, including WP Cache and WP Super Cache. Not all anti-spam plugins can say that. [true]
  12. Display your blocked spam stats on your blog. [don’t personally care about this one]
  13. Works in WordPress MU as well. [not necessary for most of us]

So that pretty much sums up their spam blocker – it works beautifully. But as I said, the original search was for a nice, easy to use contact form, so here’s some information on that part.

Their documentation sums things up quite nicely, but in case you don’t want to read through it, here’s the process:

WP-Spamfree Contact Form

  1. Download then install to your plugin directory
  2. Activate the plugin
  3. Click on Settings > Wp-Spamfree > Scroll down to “Adding A Contact Form To Your Blog”
  4. Copy this code: <!–spamfree-contact–> and add it to a new page (not a post)
  5. Your done.
  6. (This plugin even tells you whether the plugin is working correctly on the settings page)

Seriously. That’s it. On the settings page for the plugin you can change which fields you want displayed to your visitors, so if you only want their name, email, subject, and message then simply deselect all the check marked boxes under the “Contact Form Options” section then click “Update Settings.” Further down the page, you can also select the email where you want the messages to go.

You can add custom fields, use their default fields, anything you like.

This is one of those 2-3 plugins that I install on every single WordPress site/blog. If you’re looking for a good contact form (and/or spam blocker), I highly recommend WP-Spamfree.

What do you think? Are there any other contact forms or spam blockers for WordPress that you really like?

-Kyle