What will I do with the time saved fighting SPAM?

NJP blog image_zapping spam

What will I do with the time saved fighting SPAM?

There are soOo many great things about WordPress, which is why an ever increasing number of us have developed our businesses and blogs around it. It accounts for more than 22.0% of the Top 10 million websites and is the most popular blogging system on the Web with over 60 million sites, according to Wikipedia. 

So perhaps it’s not surprising that perpetrators of SPAM have developed a method to infiltrate…despite our best efforts to limit it. If you think how much time you spend moderating, categorising and deleting spam from your site and inbox, it REALLY adds up!! You know the ones…replica luxury clothing, designer shoes, sunglasses, bags…and more pharmaceuticals than you could possibly handle…even if they were legitimate!

Electronic spamming is the bane of our online lives…and although the most widely recognised is email spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media. How much is sent around the world per day? Apparently, over 130 billion spam emails worldwide. That’s like 9 minutes of actual show time for a half hour TV show…or 70% of a magazine that has to be filtered before you reach the editorial.

Bill Gates famously said “two years from now, spam will be solved” back in 2004. It’s now ten years later and more than 70% of emails are spam.

WordPress comments and contact forms

What is particularly aggravating is the amount of spam that comes via blog comment and web contact forms. Spambots are working overtime, spidering the  web looking for the tell tale ‘@’ sign and filling in forms that were designed for enthusiastic followers and potential customers to get in touch. In business, you can’t do without these communication forms, but they do leave us soOo exposed.

So how do you manage spam so that you’re not spending more time deleting it than creating content? Spam filters are increasingly sophisticated…Search Engine Journal’s How to Stop Spam Comments for GOOD! recommends having three plugins enabled and configured correctly for maximum effect.

I’ve enthused about Akismet many times in social. Their WordPress key is amazing and has been busily filtering out thousands of ‘comments’ for Not Just Powder and many #bbloggers too. You’ll occasionally have to adjudicate and empty the spam folder…but you’ll get great satisfaction from the unbelievable number of comments that haven’t required your attention.

There are also the web contact forms…these took longer to diagnose…and filled both junk and inbox folders with their ingenuity. I now know these have been auto-filled in a way that’s acceptable to WordPress.

Super-duper, easy to install barrier

Something had to be done! I had to find a socially acceptable CAPTCHA that would not be off-putting for humans to fill in, but would confound anything computerised. I’m not usually a great fan of them, but there had to be a user-friendly way to achieve this. BestWebSoft appeared to have the answer; developed especially for WordPress sites and blogs:

This is a super security captcha and protects by means of logic that’s easily understood by humans. There’s no need to spend precious time on annoying attempts to understand hard-to-read words, combinations of letters or pictures that confuse…just select one of the three basic maths actions…add, subtract or multiply…it’s your choice. You can add a label to encourage fill in. If it’s left blank or the answer’s wrong, then it won’t get through.

It’s easy to install…watch the video for full instructions. And this is what it looks like:

The results have been incredible! Since the installation, there has been no spam. Akismet is having a well-earned holiday and hasn’t had to adjudicate on anything. It’s a dramatic result…a HUGE raspberry to all spammers!! I would highly recommend this plugin…which now has me asking “What will I do with the time that’s been saved fighting spam?”

If you’ve had similar successes, we’d love to hear from you.

Kathy Wrennall

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