Defensio Comment Spam Prevention

November 7th, 2007
Blogging News, WordPress Plugins

Defensio Comment Spam Prevention: TechCrunch had a writeup on Defensio this morning and it is mostly an unbiased review of the features, benefits and weaknesses of Defensio as it stacks up beside Akismet. I had to check it out for myself. Here are some thoughts.

Defensio is a spam prevention tool much like Akismet that seems to be aimed directly at the Akismet audience. Even the back end of the WordPress plugin seems to be Akismet-esque with the requirements of an API password for use. You sign up for the service, wait for an email, download the plugin, install, activate, add API key and then sit back. The major benefits touted over Akismet was a more streamlined ability to moderate comments by spamminess rather than date, and an open API that much like Akismet, can be used to check spamminess of any commenting system. The service also (apparently) adapts itself to each individual blog.

I found the response from the API to be slow (leave a comment here to check for response times), slower than Akismet. The downloaded zip for the plugin was scattered with MacOS junk and the Defensio website broke on validation when I tried to signup. It appears that the accounting/provisioning back end is Ruby. I hope their spam checking script is not Ruby based or they are up for some headaches.

I hate to say this but someone should come up with a plugin that load balances between comment spam services. I will leave the plugin on for a few but for me, Defensio does not have any major advantages over Akismet which has served me tremendously well in the past. This time the first to market wins.

[EDIT] This is taking too long, re-enabled Akismet on this blog and disabled Defensio.

[EDIT] Carl from Defensio took a look at the speed issue and it seems to be working pretty well at the moment.




  1. wolly (paolo valenti) (1 comments.) says:

    I love askimet but askimet has a bad backend to manage spam if you receive a lot a spam.

    I hope next version of askimet will have a better management of the spam queue

  2. Jacob Share (5 comments.) says:

    Defensio doesn’t sound too impressive. Akismet is good, but I find that every user of it is still checking their spam tables for false positives. I use Spam Karma2 and I *never* have to check my spam tables, I wonder why more people aren’t using it over Akismet or even together with it.

  3. Cody (21 comments.) says:

    Isn’t it a smart thing to always check for false positives? No matter how good a spam filter is, there’s always the chance it might fail. Akismet has only labeled a good comment as spam once for me, and that comment did look a lot like spam if you didn’t look at the actually content (there were lots of links and line breaks, etc.).

  4. Carl Mercier (1 comments.) says:


    Could you give us more information about what kind of “slowliness” you’re seeing? According to our logs, we’re processing requests in 100-200ms, which is inline with what we were aiming for.

  5. Jacob Share (5 comments.) says:

    Cody, when I first installed SK2, I did check for false positives. I stopped when it began to feel like a waste of time (a month later?) since there was nothing there.

    A lot depends on how you configure the filters. I followed some guides and have SK2’s daily notification of comments that need moderating. There I will sometimes see real comments but less often than not.

  6. LcF (19 comments.) says:

    thanks for the review. the slow response time is a no-no for antispam plugin.

  7. Mark Ghosh (386 comments.) says:

    Carl: Simple comments are slow to be checked for spam, sending false positives feedback is slow, and it is slow to approve a comment. Almost everything that has to do with the API has been slow. I will not have a chance to run detailed statistics which might have helped you and I apologize for that.

  8. bubazoo (213 comments.) says:

    its hard to get people to comment anyway, on most blogs, thats why I don’t care for WordPress’s registration system. Not only can spammers break the registration system, but it don’t do any good anyway, although half of them register and never come back anyway.

    so I think, anything that slows the comment system down, is not worth using, because people will jsut get annoyed, and not leave a comment. might as well turn off comments if yer gonna have that much security against them, thats my opinion anyway.

  9. sk (3 comments.) says:

    I really don’t see what this is offering over Akismet. I’ve got a custom setup with some extra tools in addition to akismet and its working great for me. its great that there’s a competitor so that both will continually try to beat each other in result offer customers a better service.

  10. Michael (12 comments.) says:

    Aksimet was holding a lot of comments in moderation for me to review, so I became a beta tester with Defensio several weeks ago. There were a few glitches in the first couple of days, but since then I’ve had no comment errors and none held for moderation.

  11. Sergio (11 comments.) says:

    for me worked too fine spanm karma 2, i reccomended

  12. Jon Lee (1 comments.) says:

    I don’t notice any delays when posting comments.

  13. n-blue (9 comments.) says:

    I have tried and deactivated. It’s not gives me comment function slow but give 405 error.

  14. xentek (3 comments.) says:

    I don’t plan on switching from Akismet, and while 2 a day get held for moderation, that is easy enough to help train Akismet by bulk moderating them.

    However, the competition should keep Automattic from resting on their laurels (not that they were) and should spur some decent innovation.


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