Spam. A lot.
We all know that comment spam is a problem for blogs. But just how much of a problem is it?
One data source is the spam-blocking website Akismet. Akismet checks all of the comments at its participating blogs. It uses algorithms to check for spam, and is aided by the collective spam designations of all of its participating websites. As a result, its database may give a good sense of how many comments are spam in the blogosphere in general.
What’s the percentage of blog comments that are spam, according to Akismet? Take a guess, if you’d like, and then click to go below the fold for the answer.
According to Akismet, the percent of spam comments since last October is 91%. This chart, from the Akismet website, provides a visual representation:
Is Akismet exagerating the problem, in order to overstate its own importance? I don’t think so myself; those numbers correspond with my general perceptions as a blogger. One notable trend visible in the Akismet chart is the recent spike in spam comments. We’ve seen that spike here at Co-Op, as we’ve had to clean up more and more spam comments, and had to increase our filters.
By the way, we know that filters are imperfect. They’ll sometimes let through spam, and they’ll sometimes register a false positive. Alas, that’s life right now, because we just don’t have the time to check every one of hundreds or thousands of comments. (If your comment doesn’t show, it may have been falsely labeled spam — shoot one of us an e-mail and we can look into it.)
(FYI, in my experience, the most likely comments to get incorrectly flagged as spam are those that meet a triple whammy: A comment from a first-time commenter, with a hotmail or yahoo (or other easy-sign-up type) e-mail, that contains a lot of links. That’s the exact profile of a spam-bot — they run endless hotmail accounts, they auto-generate names that are all first-time commenters, and they post comments full of links.)
And that’s the status of blog spam at the moment. Nine out of ten comments are spam, and it’s getting worse — not fun. So, does anyone have any good recipes for how to use the stuff?