I still remember the days when I heard crickets at Traffic Generation Cafe – after all, it hasn't been that long ago since it was founded.
I also remember the first time one of the “big-time bloggers” left me 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 of these great blogs I like to read to keep up with what's going on around the blogosphere in general, or SEO specifically:
…two of Neil Patel's blogs:
Don't remember me ever commenting on your blog?
If you had been around Traffic Generation Cafe for any length of time, chances are I've TRIED to comment on your blog.
You just never knew about it…
You are a smart cookie (after all, you ARE reading my blog); 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 a couple of weeks 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 decided to get 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.
Now 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 about 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.
GASP plugin adds a checkbox to your comment form asking users to confirm that they are not a spammer (you can see it at work in my comment section):
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.
Especially since I have CommentLuv enabled, and CL blogs tend to get more spam because of greedy link builders.
- 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.
2 Steps to Take It Even Further
Why stop here when you can do more, right?
1. 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!
2. Get even more with CommentLuv Premium.
Yep, my opinion on CommentLuv still stands – I'll take the benefit it provides to my readers/commentators over any potential SEO disadvantages any day of the week.
And yes, the free CommentLuv is great, but the premium version is way better.
Not only does CommentLuv Premium provide a number of features that will benefit YOU as a blogger, and not just the commentators on your blog, but it will also do an even better job at protecting your blog from spammers.
Its built-in version of GASP has these cool features not available in the free version:
- Maximum number of URLs allowed in comment text.
- Maximum number of words allowed in name field.
- Minimum amount of words required in comment.
- Minimum amount of keyups on comment (this combats semi-automatic comment applications).
And my favorite:
- Minimum amount of seconds on page before commenting.
When someone tries to comment after spending less than 60 seconds on any given post on my blog, they'll get a friendly reminder:
Please read the post before leaving a comment!
Yes, Andy Bailey is brilliant.
So why are you still using Akismet, Andy?!!
Disclaimer: I'd love to sell you a copy of CommentLuv Premium – and not only because I'll make commission if you buy it through my link, but also because I firmly believe your blog will benefit from it as much as mine and hundreds of others have.
… and thank you.
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!