Spam, Ham: What do you do with over 1000 of them in your comments queue?

After New Year, I came back to a huge glut of spam in my database! I hadn’t configured a standard plugin because I thought the blog would go relatively unnoticed! Boy! Was I wrong or what? The queue contained over 1000 spams, that didn’t include spam in my comment plugin either.

spam I am

So how do you deal with a huge queue of spam like that? I spent ages clicking page after page when I realized that I was doing it the stupid way.

Stage 1: Filter the spam properly

  • Step 1: Install Akismet in your plugins. You can either download it from the website or search within your plugins “Add New” option and add it or upload it.
  • Step 3: Activate Akismet, then go to the Akismet Configuration Page under Plugins submenu. In the space, enter your API Key and check automatically discard.

Stage 2: Check for spam in the Pending Queue

check for spam

Step 4: Once Akismet is activated, head to the comments page, where you will see a button clearly marked “Check for Spam”. Hit it. If the Spam queue is long, it may take a while to get through the queue or your server may time out. Just refresh the comments page. If necessary repeat.

Step 5: Get the plugin called Clear Spam in which “…adds an option to clear spam messages from the WordPress database” under the Comments section right next to the “Check for Spam” button. On my server it caused a couple of Server 500 errors but it did work after a refresh.

delete spam

But after cleaning the spam out, all gone!

all gone

Stage 3: Prevention is better than cure

Stage 6: Akismet works very well on filtering comments out so that your queue is empty, but it does very little to prevent spam. And it does remove spam after 30 days or so automatically, so you really shouldn’t see any. But…

Stage 7: Install Lester Chan’s wonderful plugin called IP Ban which in his words helps you to “Ban users by IP, IP Range, host name, user agent and referer url from visiting your WordPress’s blog. It will display a custom ban message when the banned IP, IP range, host name, user agent or referer url tries to visit you blog. You can also exclude certain IPs from being banned.” One word of warning: do not enter your own IP Address in the Banned IP address box. You will have a lot of trouble to restore your own access!

ip ban options

Stage 8: Enter the IP addresses that you are being spammed from. This is the option that I mostly use because I find that these addresses generate the most vicious and most frequent comment spams. You can use my list, but you will also be able to buttress it with your own list of IP addresses, too.


Drop me a note with some other common IPs so I can ban them, too!

Note the use of wildcards (in this case, an asterisk) to deter users from any of these IP addresses. Be careful: you may ban too many users if you use too many asterisks! If you don’t know what you are doing, just stick with Akismet until you understand more about the Internet!

The proof is in the pudding.

In the time that it has taken me to write this posting for EeeBlogger, you will see that IP Ban has already prevented at least four comment spams. Yes, it tracks stats, too! Take a look.

banned stats

A final note: You may feel tempted, esp. to read through the comments to make sure there aren’t real comments being misidentified. Do not be tempted to click on any of the links in the spam to find out what it takes you to. I had a harrowing experience a few months ago when I did that out of curiosity. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. Seriously. Don’t even think about. If you do, you will be taken through numerous redirects, stuff will be loaded on your PC, your anti-virus will be disabled, and your PC will be compromised. So don’t.

What’s your experience with Spam? What plugins do you use? Drop me a line…


Investorblogger welcomes bloggers and readers to register on this website and post comments and articles where appropriate.

However, due to spam and spam postings, the owner of this blog reserves the right to approve or deny or delete ANY registration for ANY reason. InvestorBlogger reserves also the right not to inform the blogger or reader that this has been done.

Any and all postings or comments are also subject to the TOS, and any other policies that the website owner implements now or in the future. If you find these terms objectionable, do not register.

Spam, etc.

InvestorBlogger has a simple policy: Comments must add in some way to the dicussion. If they don’t, they will be removed. Typical comments that are removed include

  • Extensive duplicate or copied content, etc..
  • Pornographic/Sexuality content or links to such content, etc..
  • Comments that are senseless or nonsense, etc..
  • Spam or splogs, etc..
  • Racist, Sexist, Nationalistic, Religious Propaganda ( or otherwise offensive to me or my readership), etc..
  • Copyright infringement, etc..
  • Promoting Illegal activities: such as illegal drug use, gun ownership, violence, etc..
  • Sites containing popups/popunders or otherwise interfere with safe browsing, etc..

Comments that are removed are not kept or stored. If you post a comment that is valuable to you, please retain a copy for your records. Comments that are erroneously removed by Spam Karma will likely not to be retrieved, simply because I never saw them.

Bloggers: You CAN fight back against Spam, splogs and IP theft!

Many bloggers out in the Blogosphere spend hours creating wonderful posts and building great traffic to their blogs. Indeed there are many websites out there that utilize the value of community to enhance bloggers traffic in any number of ways: Digg, Technorati, FaceBook… MyBlogLog. They aggregate your data, your feeds, your posts, on one ‘page’ and add links, their own features, and of course, MONETIZATION.

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For the most part, these sites are adding some value to the potion by making their sites searchable, so that readers can find you and you can find them; the best ones allow you to ‘claim’ your blog, and submit your feed. The feeds are then handled ‘with your permission’.

Of course, in many cases, though, these websites leech your traffic, your PR rankings, and your searches. So it really is a give and take situation. For the most part, they do contribute something to the mix.

But some of the ‘smaller’ web 2.0 websites are really pushing the limits of acceptability by publishing your entire feed, trapping your feed in a frame, or otherwise ‘stealing your content’ and making money from it. Worst of all, there isn’t a so much as by-your-leave.

Stealing YOUR content

One example of a website that really pushes the boundary is is a website that I recently found quite by accident when I was looking for something else. Its excerpts are amongst the longest that I have seen (175 words vs. 79 on Technorati), the websites are trapped in a frame, and the titles of the posts DO not link to the original post. (in fact, this last factor is one of my biggest complaints about Alexa, MyBlogLog, etc., the links to the original blog are often hidden to ‘trap’ visitors on their website, rather than send them to your site…!). There is also a space at the bottom to leave a comment.

In otherwords, the site seems to be really ‘leeching’ off the original post, and giving the original posting as little benefit as legally permissible. Confusingly, the link to the blog is entitled ‘blog link’ and the link to the article takes you to a frame trapped by their network.


Needless to say, this isn’t the most egregious appropriation of a blogger’s content that I have seen esp. as permission seems to have been given by the blogger, but it comes close. So what is a poor blogger to do?

Breaking Out of Frames luckily includes a ‘break out of frame link’, but what if they didn’t? The has a nice code that SHOULD work (I couldn’t get it to work well at first on InvestorBlogger). I also found a plugin at Semiologic called FrameBuster. Again, I have not been able to get it working here… I think my own page has some funky code that may be interfering with it. I will be trying again soon. There are other options.

However, one code that at least gives the readers a choice if a website does not is the following: <a href=”” target=”_parent”>Break out of a frame</a>. I’m currently using it as the simplest and most effective way to escape the clutches of others. And it does work, nicely. Copy the text from <a…a> and paste it somewhere obvious in your your page.

Identifying YOUR content

A few days ago I posted an odd in-post message in my November’s Earnings Post that looked like this right at the top third of the message…

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This was in the first part of the post, and would be VERY hard for anyone to miss. I’m still not sure if the excerpt created would include the HTML links or not every time. In Technorati, it didn’t at all. But the fact that the post includes this may at least encourage visitors to sign up to your blog, esp. those who are reading it on a website that syndicates posts that DO include links. I’ve only started including it on my longer posts. Shorter ones, well there’s just no point, really. This post contains it, of course.

Cutting short your FEEDS…

Of course, the most obvious way to prevent theft of your content may be to change the RSS feed in WordPress to show only excerpt. This can be enabled in your WordPress Panel under Options >>> Reading. Scroll down the page to Syndication Feeds and “For each article, show” then click on “Summary”.

Another more flexible way to change the length of each and every post individually is to use the <!–more–> in posts which cuts off posts in the RSS Feeds. The tag is available in both the visual menu and the code menu for writing posts.

more tag

Cutting short your feeds may not endear you to your readers, though. As many readers prefer to read your posts on FeedReading Applications. So a judicious use of the ‘more’ tag and including text in your post at the beginning may be an effective way to control the splogging in the short term.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

These have been annoying me of late too. Many of the trackbacks have been from sites with *.info in their name, and excerpts from MY original posting as the only text in the post. The only thing I could do in the short term is turn off link notifications as a default (in Options >>> Discussion Options at the top). This cut the amount of trackback spam I was getting, and I can still turn it on for individual posts. Most of such spam was coming from new posts, too. So I didn’t have to worry so much about older postings.

There is a fuller article at WordPress on controlling comment spam as well as a plugin.

To the savviest of Bloggers, though…

Of course, the extra traffic to your blog from Splogs and via Comment Spam, as well as the careful adaptation of the beginning of posts should enable the canniest of bloggers to find a way to take advantage of sploggers who are taking advantage of you!

And if any of you get the frame busting options worked out for WP, do drop me a line!