I’ve recently been receiving more spam comments on my blog that have bypassed WordPress‘ spam protection program, Akismet, more often than usual. I marked them as Spam, which aids Akismet in detecting these types of spam again and protects other bloggers using Akismet’s service from these comments which currently bypass the filters.
I also commonly receive email in Gmail that are spam and that bypass the filters. The Gmail spam protection system works similarly to Akismet’s, in that they both use a network filtration system by relaying any emails that one user considers spam to all the other users; the more times the same email or comment gets marked as spam, the more the system will believe that to be true and protect the other users from receiving the same item.
I’ve reached the point in both Gmail and WordPress where the number of spam/day that I get in my Gmail and the number of spam/day that I get in WordPress are about the same; I’ve currently got 12140 spam; divide that by 30 days, and that’s 405 spam per day. In WordPress, I’ve got 6130 spam comments, over 15 days; that’s 409 spam/day. They’re nearly the same by now.
So, which program is better? I get the feeling that I’ve got more WordPress spam slipping through the filters than spam email. I’m feeling that part of the reason that this is the case is because Gmail is newer than Akismet. (Gmail and its spam service debuted on April 1st, 2007, whereas WordPress’ Akismet service was released on October 25th, 2005, about a year and a half later.)
The spam email that slips through are usually very hard to distinguish from genuine email; indeed, sometimes even I have to think if the email is genuine or not, because it’s not selling anything and there’s no attachment (like a lot of spam has, because they include stock quotes in attached images.) The spam comments that I receive that slip through are almost always sex-based in an obvious manner, so it baffles me that they would not have been marked as spam.
Akismet also previously identified all of the comments made from a friend of mine as spam! Even after continuously marking his comments as genuine, they were still marked as spam, so I eventually just made an account for him. But still, that was frustrating. In Gmail, I used to have a few false positives marked as spam, but that’s very rare now. In WordPress, the number of false positives that I get is near 0.
In conclusion, I believe that both services have room for improvement, but I’m extremely happy that they BOTH exist. They fight the good fight on two different fronts, and they are both very commendable services. I believe that Akismet can also be used for services other than blogs, so that makes it a great asset. Over at b5media, Akismet saves us a great deal of work because we have received millions of spam comments since we begun using it. Gmail probably has more spam emails than Akismet has spam comments because Gmail is used far more often, but Akismet will soon catch up. It’s only a matter of time.