Filtering Tools Helping to Control Blog Comment Spam

Posted on April 12, 2006

CNET has an interesting article about the comment spam situation. Comment spam continues but it has been lessened somewhat by filtering software. The degree to which the filtering software works really depends on who you talk to. Mark Frauenfelder says they won't bring back comments on Boing Boing because of the likelihood of a barrage of junk comments.

Frauenfelder says, "It is like pollution. It reminds me of visible smog, because it obscures what you want to be looking at. You have to waste brain cycles to filter it out, or, if you own a blog, you have to go through extraordinary measures to keep it out."

The article quotes Robert Scoble as being happy with the filtering service provided by WordPress.com. He says it correctly flags most of the spam with some false positives.

Jason Calacanis says the filtering software at Weblogs, Inc. keeps out the bulk of comment spam. He says, "We've built technology to solve the problem, we invest in updating it, and our 160-plus bloggers manage the few spams that get through. The only spam that can really get through our defenses are the ones that are hand-rolled by a person, and we catch most of those."

On his blog Calacanis also said on his blog (he posted his own responses to the interview questions) that comment spam is not as big of an issue as some make it out to be.

Calacanis says, "You're making it into this major problem. If you have the right software and you put in simple rules it's not a major issue. The problem is the software makers, combined with blog owners, have not done a horrible good with their software. If you put in simple controls the problem goes away. Folks just don't install the tools to block comment spam."

Even with filtering software most busy blogs require moderating to remove 100% of spammy posts. Captchas and Registration are other steps blogs can take to reduce comment spam. Comments are an added feature blogs can use to attract readers so many bloggers allow comments even if they can't weed out all the spam. You can see an earlier post we had about blogs and comments called, "A Blog Without Comments is Still a Blog." A few bloggers disagreed with what we posted and told us that blogs with comments are better.