Skip to main content

Got Comment Spam? Akismet to the Rescue!

Akismet is a WordPress plugin that protects you from comment spam. This begs the questions: “What is Comment Spam?” and “Why do you need protecting from it?”

What is Comment Spam?

The bane of bloggers everywhere is an incipient form of spam known as comment spam. Comment spammers will post seemingly genuine comments to your blog posts which praise the quality of your blog post.

Seems harmless, right? It sounds like they love your blog! Unfortunately, you’re being played.

Why Spammers Leave Comments

These commenters will include links to sketchy-sounding websites (such as in the above example) on their commenting profiles. If comments are approved and published, they will provide that sketchy website with a backlink – which is an essential criteria in Google’s famous PageRank algorithm.

The more comments they leave (and which you and other bloggers approve to be published), the higher their sketchy website could rank on Google organic searches. It doesn’t matter to them if no one ever clicks on their link – just the fact that it is published on your site could be enough to generate higher organic rankings – and thus, more organic traffic.

The Real Annoyance

While you can moderate comments to prevent spammy comments from being automatically published, comment moderation can start to take a lot of time. Over time, you might start getting hundreds of comments a weeek – all of which need to be manually moderated. That’s when spammy comments can really start to become a major annoyance.

Manually deleting comments is no fun at all. It takes time away that you could be using to create more awesome content!

Enter Akismet

Akismet will automatically send obvious comment spam into instant obscurity so you won’t have to give it a second thought. You won’t be bothered by 99.9% of comment spam again – and if Akismet isn’t quite sure whether a comment is spam or not – it will give you the choice and let you decide.

Sound like a good deal? Ok – let’s get it hooked up!

Activate Akismet

Akismet is pre-installed as a plugin for every UNI blog that we’ve created for this class. You’ll just need to activate it by clicking on the blue “Activate” link in your Plugins directory.

Once you activate the Akismet plugin, you’ll need to set up your account. This is a little tricky, so follow along closely!

Log in to Akismet using Google

Akismet uses account logins to authenticate – but we are not using and the last thing we need is yet another account to keep track of. Fortunately, you can also authenticate with a Google account – first click on “Already have a account? Log in now.” link at the bottom of this page:

Ok, so that was a lie – we don’t have a account. But look at the next page – it gives you the option to log in with your Google account at the bottom of the page!

Name Your Price

Choose a pricing plan. When you get rich and famous you can get a commercial account and give Akismet big bucks for protecting you from comment spam. For now, just choose the Personal “Name Your Price” plan.

On the next page, it will allow you to name your price. Since you are a student and your blog is not a commercial business, choose $0.

Activate Your Site and Enter Your API Key

Logged in? Good. Now you’ll be asked to “activate” your site and may need to enter your blog URL. Once you do so, you will receive your very own Akismet API key, which you can now enter in WordPress:

Enter your API key and click “Connect with API key”. Akismet will now be active and will start blocking spam immediately. If you’re curious, you can check in from time to time and see just how much spam Akismet is blocking.

Matthew Wilson

Matthew Wilson is an Instructor in Marketing at the University of Northern Iowa. Matthew teaches courses in Digital Advertising, Advertising Campaign Development, and Experiential Marketing. He is passionate about the Interactive Digital Studies program at UNI and is also the faculty advisor for AAF-UNI, the college chapter of the American Advertising Federation. Matthew is a creative director with 18 years of experience working in advertising, interactive design, video production and experience design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *