Offer Closed

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One of the things that we all have to face every day is spam. This is my solution for removing it from all your blogs.

I’ve used various tools over the years to deal with spam and one of the good ones was Akismet and I’ll continue to use it even though it’s now a paid service. But I’ve always thought there had to be a better way of dealing with blog spam.

Logging into a site for the first time in a couple of months only to find 800 comments waiting to be reviewed isn’t my ideal way of spending my time, and what I’d usually do is just delete the lot. Page after page of them – it can take ages.

TIP: Did you know that if you’re on the comments page and click the “Screen Options” tab next to the “Help” at the top right, you see an option to control how many comments are displayed on that admin page?  By default it’s set to a stupidly low 20, but you can change it to 999 and that saves a heck of a lot of time. You get the same option on the posts and pages admin too. No more time wasting clicking through loads of pages.

Anyway. One day I got to wondering if there was a way to take advantage of all that automated effort that someone was making and turn it instead to my own advantage.

Turn the tables so to speak.

I wanted a way of (for some blogs) being able to leave comment moderation OFF so that comments always got auto approved – it makes the blog look busier and people who see a busy blog leave real comments. But I didn’t want any of the potentially spammy backlinks in those comments to be displayed. Or to have spammy keywords showing either. I’m sure you know the ones I mean.  😉

And that’s when Spam Cracker was born.

What it does is when ANY comment comes into your blog, it temporarily replaces any links with your own taken from a list at random. It also replaces any spammy words with your own, again taken from a list at random.

That means that all the spam comments start pointing to links that you decide, and all the keywords are converted to words that are relevant to your blog. Yes it will mean that sentences sometimes won’t make any sense, but it’s far better than the alternative.

But the most important thing is it will seem that visitors are commenting and leaving behind on-topic keywords and links that point to your own sites.

(You could even use your OWN affiliate links for some of them and occasionally earn a commission from it.)

The search engines would then see plenty of commenting activity which they see as a positive social indicator for the amount of activity on your blog.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, social indicators of this nature seem to be the direction Google is going in its pursuit of giving people the best search results. The way I see it, lots of commenters using similar keywords on your posts is a good social indicator for the keywords being used.

You with me?  😉

We’ve also added an option to remove URLs in comments on posts older than n days. Typically my own spam comes in on older posts, so setting this value to say 14 days will stop any URLs from being added to those older posts.  (Really that’s an option that should have been in core WP, so I thought it made sense to fix that.)

If a genuine person makes a comment (you can usually tell), then you can choose to manually approve the URLs in that one comment and they’ll revert back to the original links left by the commenter.

And finally, we added in a nice little idea we got from Akismet.

Each user URL (the one the commenter types in when leaving a comment) in your admin panel has a little x next to it so you can quickly just remove the URL if you want to.

Tomorrow at 6.00pm GMT (1.00pm EST) I’m running an introductory 48 hour sale starting at just $10 for the first 50 copies.

The Spam Cracker plugin is one you should definitely consider having in your arsenal for use on all your sites.

I’ll drop you an email when the sale starts.

-Frank Haywood