Do You Check Your Spam Comments? Tips to Deal With Spam.

October 3rd, 2009
WordPress Tips

Spam in any form is annoying at its best. As a internet user, every one of us has to deal with spam. It may be in the form of emails, instant messages or comments.


As a avid always-on internet user, I deal with tons of spam everyday. However, in the time (more than 11 years) I have spent on the internet, I can tell you one thing: No spam protection is perfect, it just works 98% of times. There is always a 2% chance that it will flag legitimate messages as spam or spam messages as legitimate.

Also Read: Setting up Akismet on your WordPress blog

Relying on spam engines is not always 100% accurate. To overcome the issue of the “legitimate messages marked as spam” (some of which may be really important) I follow a certain rule. This applies to spam comments marked on my WordPress blog as well, which is protected by Akismet.

  1. I never let the spam queue grow over 100. Above this anyone will lose interest in even looking at things beyond the first page (Hint: Set the comments page to show you 100 comments instead of only 15).
  2. I make sure to delete the spam queue after I have looked over it.

Now, this may seem like a tedious process. Of course looking over spam is useless too, but let me tell you this, you will be glad you did look over your spam messages. There are chances that some messages which are not only legitimate, but also important are marked as spam.

Dealing with spam is not easy. I get perfectly insane spam messages in my inbox/comments. Looking at the subject of the message or the name used for commenting, I can weed them out and send them to their right place. Most of the times it is because of the practice I have had over the years.

If you are using WordPress with Akismet, when you mark a message as spam or pull out a legitimate comment from the spam and mark it as good, you are helping others. Akismet is centrally managed so everything you do will be noted and used for a better experience for other users.

This in turn helps you too, when other users do the same. However, I must also elaborate on a point that, spam for one user maybe perfectly alright for another user.

For example, “nice post” “well written post” “I liked the way you write” kind of comments will be well received by some people. However, others may mark them as spam. If you ask me, I simply mark such comments as spam. Before I do that, I look at the name and URL the commentator used. Usually they deserve to be in spam. More often than not when you look closer at such comments, you will find the URL leading to a shady website.

Another form of spam I come across regularly is when I write a article that is popular in search engines. I get several comments for them. I do get a few which are beautifully written and definitely deserve a Oscar for commenting, if there was one. However, take a look at such comments very closely. The guys who commented are obviously trying to take advantage of your search engine rankings and insert links to competitors of the product you wrote or to paid products.

Now that would not be bad, but this is a paid form of black hat SEO where they insert links with beautifully written comments into posts for high ranking keywords, which they would never come close to achieving with their own hard work.

Thanks to WordPress for adding “nofollow” to links in the comments, these guys won’t gain much Google love, but they will definitely make money out of your well written and higher SERP post.

I can go on and on with how I deal with spam and weed out the wants from the not and vice versa. In the end it matters how you eventually follow your own process and deal with spam, comments or otherwise.

If you do follow a process or have anything to say about my opinion, I definitely look forward to it.




  1. Bill Hamilton (2 comments.) says:

    I used Akismet, but never saw the spam content and never found a way to change the settings. I switched to Defensio which allows me to pull out the IP of the spammer and insert that to WP-BAN. Once I plug it into WP-BAN, I never see the offender again.


  2. Big Fella (2 comments.) says:

    I use Akismet to filter the comments to my blog and my experience has been that 99.999999% of what Akismet has flagged as spam, is spam. I also consider comments such as “Great site”, etc. as spam.

    I review my Akismet Spam file at least once a day, and while it can be tedious scrolling through all of the intercepted comments, it is actually very simple, most spam messages I receive have multiple links embeded in them, and those a very clearly underlined by Akismet, and the “short and sweet”, “Great site” comments are obviously visible because of their brevity as opposed to the link filled comments.

    I am just waiting for someone to invent a reverse death ray, so I can just send a laser beam back to the IP addressed that originated any spam sent me and obliterate the machine.

  3. BWI (1 comments.) says:

    I just made a post about Akismet yesterday. My blog had reached 1,000 real comments, and by coincidence hit 20,000 blocked spam messages by Akismet on the same day. Pretty killer service as far as I am concerned.

  4. Dana@LetUpdate (2 comments.) says:

    I deal with spam everyday even my blog still young. And until today, akismet still ding the job perfectly, without single miss. But, i think it is because there are very few spam to my blog (only 3 a day).

  5. Rob @ (1 comments.) says:

    I agree with you that having spam comments is really annoying. I have received several messages of feedback to my site but they have been stupid little comments like “nice site”, “great site”, etc, and sometimes I get just flat out comments that point to webcam services and affiliate programs. That is one thing I seem to have a big gripe with.

    I will be looking at Akismet soon and when I can put a blogging feature on my site I will be keeping this in mind (by the way, is there any free blogging script I can put into my site? I would like something like this to use with news etc).

  6. Kishore Mylavarapu (13 comments.) says:

    Today i learned somethinga about spam with your post to manage my blog.Thank you.But i dont know how to post good posts? Where we have to search for good posts? Can anyone help that i can develop my self.I think it is beyond topic.But pls help me if you dont think so..

  7. Steve (1 comments.) says:

    Akismet tends to place a lot of emails into the spam category that are not truly spam. So I check and accept many emails weekly.

  8. katinka - all considering (2 comments.) says:

    I just checked, but I can’t find a button where I can set the amount of comments to more than the default.

    But I have to agree with the previous comments here as well: I’ve never found a real honest comment in the spam filter. I no longer bother going through them all. The maybe’s are a mixed bag, but I usually let them through.

  9. V.C (44 comments.) says:

    I don’t like using spam plugin actually.
    Wordpress itself has black list comment system that prevent spam very well.

  10. Rarst (12 comments.) says:

    I use self-coded plugin that compares incoming comments (from unknown readers) against known spam comments by several criteria (link, content, etc).

    On match it is spammed/destroyed (depends if it is useless complete duplicate or must be stored for further matches).

    Rest of comments are processed manually.

    I don’t and won’t use Akismet. I am sick of my comments being spammed by mistake on blogs using it all the time and bloggers being “hey, everyone says I should use Akismet so I do”. If they method of dealing with spam is enabling Akisemt and not giving a damn about what it does – I’d prefer they just disable comments.

  11. Luigi says:

    I’m using Akismet from the first moment I’ve set up my blog, but now I’m also using WP Captcha-Free ( ), and I’m not receiving spam in the spam queue at all!
    What do you guys think about my solution?

  12. Mark says:

    So I’m reading, then re-reading but any way I try, I can’t seem to see the mention of you marking comments that oppose your opinion as spam. This site is forced into the face of every WP user, yet it’s notorious for being beyond anal with comments. Any comment that expose BS in the post is marked as spam. Any comment that exposes crap recommendation is marked as spam. Somehow you failed to mention that fact when listing all the reasons why you mark comments a spam. Truly ignorant and tacky.

  13. Christopher (18 comments.) says:

    If a comment isn’t about a post it is spam so yeah, “nice post”, etc comments are normally spam.
    No, I don’t look through comments for that1% good comment. I’d rather be writing new content and creating new art.

  14. Justin Tadlock (51 comments.) says:

    It’s easy to say “I never let the spam queue grow over 100″ when you don’t get a lot of spam. Some of us get 100 every few hours, so checking for legitimate comments is out of the question.

  15. Rarst (12 comments.) says:

    @Justin Tadlock

    There is difference between comment that is absolutely certain to be spam (blacklist match for example) and comment that is likely to be spam (by some vague inner logic of Akismet).

    Former are safe to be ignored or rejected from posting altogether. But latter must be checked to minimize false positives.

    I get hundreds of spam comments daily. Doesn’t mean I check every single one, 98-99% are eliminated and only 5-10 a day require human decision.

    It is insane to look through every spam comment, but it isn’t wise to leave all of them to some plugin or service and ignore false positives issue.

  16. Romeo (2 comments.) says:

    I use Akismet and it works pretty good, but theres sometimes that good comments are pushed to spam… but i think in the 99,99% of cases Akismet works great..
    Just a quick look will help

  17. Artful Dodger (1 comments.) says:

    Personally, if I get a good comment leading to a shady website or one trying to take my traffic away I simply penalize them by removing their link and custom anchor and replace them with “Mr. No Name”.

    • Chris (1 comments.) says:

      I like this Method I send my spam comments to Charity I change their names To Food for Africa and Save the Children.I call it Donating Spam

  18. TK Pandey (2 comments.) says:

    I agree with you that having spam comments is really annoying. I have received several messages of feedback to my site but they have been stupid little comments like “nice site”, “great site”, etc. You have done a good job, keep going..

  19. Bock the Robber (1 comments.) says:

    Akismet does a fair enough job, but it does have the occasional annoying tendency to mark regular commenters as spam. Lately, therefore, I’ve started to look through the spam list before deleting.

    Do you know if there’s much malicious use of Akismet, where people are marked as spam deliberately to cause trouble for them?

  20. Kelson (20 comments.) says:

    I make it a point to check (and clear) the spam folder at least once on each day that I log into the admin area of a blog. I haven’t gotten many false positives lately, though I did get one last week.

  21. Ian Glendinning (7 comments.) says:

    Yes, I do review my spam comments queue for errors, and obviously review the non-spam queue for moderation. I use Akismet and I do use its features to mark spam / non-spam. One question and one comment :

    (1) Why do you delete the spam queue / why never let it grow beyond a hundred ?

    (2) Whenever I get a suspicious simple complement spam, I tend to respond by e-mail first, to see if there is a real human with any interest in the subject, before marking one-way or the other.

  22. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    personally, and I’ve always believed this,
    a very good indication that a comment is SPAM,
    is if the comment itself has a link in it. espefcialy an HTML link

    that is the general rule I always follow. I’ve allowed comments such as “good site” *if* thats all the comment says, but he is right, alot of times, hidden links are in the comment itself, and you have to go into phpmysql to look at the source code of the comment itself, to see if its got a hidden link in it or not.

    I’ve always believed there should be a plugin that makes finding spam comments like that easier, by revealing the hiddel links that are in these comments. I get them not only in my comments, but on wordspre as well, and it gets really teadeous to weed them out, when all you really want to do is take out the link.

    I mean, I don’t care if a robot wants to post a comment, so long as its not a bad word, a selling of a product, or a link, what else really matters?

    • Ian Glendinning (7 comments.) says:

      Clearly the “link” is an indication bubazoo, but see stu’s comment.

      I don’t see any reason to be prejudiced against people selling something or providing links – if they are relevant and useful to your own blog and readers. I think the important thing is to make sure you contact a well intentioned human if in doubt.

      As stu says, in practice I only skim / audit / eyeball the spam queue – to spot any likely anomalies – the vast majority really are spam and not worth the time to review.

  23. Stu (7 comments.) says:

    You might be tempted to approve a comment that says “nice site” if it does not have any links in it.

    DO NOT DO THIS, as having a previously approved comment will allow a spammer to bypass your spam filter (for some configurations).

    Also, for my company’s website, only 0.8% of comments are genuine comments. It just isn’t a good use of my time to manually review all spam comments.


  24. Gouri (1 comments.) says:

    Yeah, it’s very much true. That’s the reason I check comments in my spam queue as well & approve a few of them.

  25. mickysantos (1 comments.) says:

    I don’t see what the fuss is about simple comments. Sure, if they lead to shady sites or if the link provided for when you click a name is leading to a shady site that’s indeed spam. Otherwise, I don’t see a problem…


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