I still remember the days when I heard crickets at Traffic Generation Café…
I also remember the first time one of the “big-time bloggers” left a comment on one of my posts.
I was flattered, excited, and motivated to do more and better.
And, quite honestly, that feeling hasn’t gone away.
It still flatters, excites, and motivates me when a more influential blogger graces me with a comment, like Dainis Graveris, the founder of 1stWebDesigner.com, did not long ago:
Little he knew that I vied for his attention when I first started out online by leaving comments on his blog, trying to connect with him, other writers, and readers of 1stWebDesigner.
However, my comments never saw the light of day on his blog.
Or any other great blogs I liked to read to keep up with the latest in the blogosphere:
…two of Neil Patel’s blogs:
If you had been around Traffic Generation Cafe for any length of time, chances are I’ve TRIED to comment on your blog.
What if I’d tried to comment on YOUR blog?….
You just never knew it…
You are a smart cookie (aren’t ya?); you know where I am going with this.
Someone convinced you that you HAD to have it to “protect” your blog from spammers… like me.
I am not even exaggerating.
As far as Akismet is concerned, I AM a spammer.
Here’s an email exchange I had with them some time ago.
[By the way, this was my fifth attempt to learn why my comments weren’t showing up on Akismet-enabled blogs, and the first time they actually got back with me.]
Me to Akismet:
Hello, Akismet Support Team,
It seems like there is a problem with my website: www.TrafficGenerationCafe.com.
Every time I comment on a wordpress blog that uses akismet, my comments are wrongly flagged as spam.
Could you please see if my website has been blacklisted by Akismet?
I hope you can help me to get this problem sorted out.
Thank you very much.
The response from Mark, Akismet support team, was as follows:
Most blog owners regard comments similar to yours as spam.
You can expect your comments won’t often be published.
That’s not the case everywhere.
Akismet is not a blacklist.
Each blog owner teaches Akismet which kinds of comments they wish to publish and which they do not.
That’s their decision and under their control.
Hold on a second; let me get over being left speechless.
I am just a regular spammer.
And according to Akismet, YOU choose not to publish my comments.
Of course, you and I both know that you’d never do that to me.
Or to any other reader who wants to be a part of the conversation on your blog.
However, you’ll never know that I or many other readers tried to comment on your blog.
Akismet won’t even give us the courtesy of sending our comments into spam, giving you a chance to actually see them when you clean out your spam folder every once so often.
Our comments will just DISAPPEAR.
How Do You Know Akismet is Messing with You?
Here’s an example of me commenting on two blogs.
One of them, SEO-Hacker.com, doesn’t use Akismet.
This is what I saw after I left my comment:
You see that “Your comment is awaiting moderation” message?
It means that my comment is sitting in Sean’s moderation folder and will be approved when he gets to it.
Additionally, you’ll see your comment URL in the address bar, like this: http://seo-hacker.com/over-optimization-penalty/#comment-2847.
The last #comment-2847 part indicates that the blog “registered” my comment.
The other blog I commented on was Andy Bailey’s (creator of CommentLuv) personal blog.
[Andy is going to get some friendly spanking throughout this post and by the end of the post you’ll understand why.]
When I left my comment on his blog, I saw nothing.
No “Your comment is awaiting moderation“.
No #comment–blah-blah URL.
The page simply reloaded once I clicked on “Submit comment” button.
Now this tells me that Andy is using Akismet and that my comment is as good as non-existent.
Andy will never know how highly I thought of that post.
Truth is Andy will be just fine without my comment, but what about you?
Would you pass up an opportunity to be encouraged by another (possibly more influential) blogger?
So what now?
Disable the de facto Akismet and let spammers eat you alive?
Of course, not.
That’s where Andy Bailey comes in again.
Besides creating the great CommentLuv, Andy also put together some other plugins, one of which is called Growmap Anti-Spambot Plugin (GASP).
SIDE NOTE (updated as of 2017)
- Andy Bailey has MS and had to give up his marketing business as a result.
Thus none of his plugins have been updated in years, which poses a security risk for your blog. I advise you to stay away from the plugins I mention in this post, namely CommentLuv and GASP.
- Additionally, as per advice from a renowned SEO consultant, Eric Enge, I stopped using CommentLuv at Traffic Generation Café, as well as on any other blog the plugin is offered. The links generated by the plugin could be potentially interpreted by Google as unnatural, thus lead or contribute to a penalty of sorts.This is a ‘better safe than sorry‘ kind of advice, so please take it at that.
GASP plugin adds a checkbox to your comment form asking users to confirm that they are not a spammer:
It’s a lot less trouble to check a box than it is to enter a captcha.
The checkbox needs to be checked before the comment is submitted so there’s no chance that a comment will be lost if it’s being submitted by a legitimate human user.
I used to get hundreds of automatic spam comments per day when I used Akismet.
On one of my worst days, I got nearly a THOUSAND spam comments, sitting in my moderation queue waiting for my approval.
Meanwhile, I had several legitimate comments sitting in the spam folder and who knows how many have never showed up at all.
Since I installed GASP however, I don’t get ANY auto-spam.
Sure I still get human spammers who casually drop their junk at my doorstep, but I don’t consider 5-10 such comments per day to be too much of a burden.
Especially for a blog like mine.
Especially compared to what I used to get with Akismet.
- It’s free.
- Stops auto-spam.
- Never looses a single human comment.
- It’s better than any other spam plugin I’ve tried (not exactly a feature, I suppose; personal opinion more like it).
And did I mention it’s free?
So here’s what I want you to do on your blog:
- Disable Akismet (don’t even think about double-dipping – you don’t need both Akismet and GASP).
- Install GASP.
- Share this post with your readership to make sure they too make their blogs more reader-friendly.
You can also…
Come up with a cool message to scare off spammers
Or at least, give your readers a laugh.
Danny Sullivan used to have a great one on his personal blog Daggle.com, but he recently started closing comments on his posts very soon after they would be published, so I couldn’t take a snapshot of it.
He did threaten the commentators to report them to Google’s top spam guy (Matt Cutts?) if their comments even smelled of spam.
Needless to say, I never saw any spam comments on his blog.
But then again, neither did I see my own comments published there – darn you, Akismet!
There’s no reason to want to protect your blog at the expense of missing out on legitimate comments.
Even more so, on comments that will make your day.
Do me a favor.
And let me know after you did, so that I can come back and finally let you know what I think about your blog/posts.
Unless you don’t think your content is that good… Then forget about Akismet and think about becoming a better writer first.
Either way, don’t forget to share the post!
From Ana with