Zero Blog Comment Spam With Clickcha

I thought I’d tell you about a plugin I installed a week or so ago that has completely removed all automated comment spam from this blog.

It’s called Clickcha and what it does is present a small random clickable image with instructions on where to click such as “click the smallest number” or “click the biggest square”.

The beauty of this is only a human would know where to click. So all those spammers using tools that automatically leave spam comments on blogs are out of luck.

Interestingly, it seems that ALL comment spam has stopped. In fact, even those comments I used to get that were what I would call borderline spam have stopped too. I used to deal with those by looking at the URL, and if it was anything to do with herbal remedies or gambling etc, I’d mark it as spam and let Akismet deal with it for other blog owners.

So just stopping to think about that one for a moment, it seems to be true that there’s a lot more automated blog comment spam must be going on than you’d think.

In fact Akismet hasn’t had to deal with one item of spam since I installed Clickcha.

That’s pretty cool and is definitely a plugin worth getting.

Update: I’ve had a couple of problems getting Clickcha to work properly on another site and I had to edit the comments.php in order for it to work. I’ve also had a subscriber (hi Larry) tell me that he clicked the smallest number and it deleted his comment from this blog. I’ve also just found a load of comment spam in Akismet, so Clickcha doesn’t quite seem to be doing what it’s supposed to at the moment and I’ve now deactivated it. The concept is good though, so lets keep our eye on that one.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in Check This Out

Product Launch Spam

I’ve just had Michael Pryor or someone acting on his behalf spam my blog about a product launch on Tuesday. But it looks like he may well have been spamming lots of other blogs too, as Akismet caught it. So he must now be in the Akismet blog spam database.

Not wanting to give him any publicity, he (or someone else) is spamming his product launch of Google n*em-es* (URL obsfuscated).

His sign up form goes to another of his sites which may mean he can’t get an autoresponder service to take him. When you sign up, you get an email from Bob Smith, so it doesn’t seem he wants people to know his real name. But if you do a WHOIS at GoDaddy you can see it for yourself.

It gets sillier as because his domain is hosted with GoDaddy, who are rumoured to suspend domains on a single complaint of spam, it could mean that domain will be closed down if someone actually *does* go and complain to GoDaddy (hopefully his web site isn’t hosted with them too, for his sake).

I’m not going to do that as I’m not that kind of a person. In fact I’m not going to complain at all other than this blog post.

Everybody should get a chance to fix their mistakes and apologise.

The moral of this story?


-Frank Haywood

It’s particularly ironic that on his sign up form it says:-
“We hate spam as much as you do.”

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

What The Spammers Have Done To YOU…

…and what you can do about it.

You must have had at least one of those conversations where someone says to you “didn’t you get my email?”

Or maybe you’ve had an angry email from a customer saying something like “SECOND REQUEST: Why haven’t you answered my email?!?” and when you check, you find you have answered it, and several days ago too.

Well, it never got there thanks to their ISP spam filters.

It’s a real problem now, and especially since about October / November time, I’ve noticed a sharp increase on the number of emails that don’t get through either to me or back to my customers.

I’m pretty sure I know why this is. The increased number of spam emails containing images is causing a major problem for the ISPs.

This is what happens. Even before an email arrives at your email account – so this is even before your own spam filter gets a chance to operate – the mail provider you’re using has already applied its own filters.

Now imagine you’re the ISP, and you get a million emails a day through your network, and they’re all about 6k in size. 750,000 of those are spam, and it’s a burden. I’m making these figures up by the way…

As an ISP, every bit of network traffic costs you money. So all that spam is costing you money with no benefit to either you or your customers. Almost no-one wants it.

(Yes, some people click those links, enough to make it profitable, otherwise the spammers wouldn’t bother. They’re the ones who are really to blame.)

The next thing you know, the spammers are now sending email with images inside, bringing up the average size of an email to 18k. So suddenly, you now have to deal with 3 times as much traffic on your network as before.

What would you do if you were an ISP?

Well as a result of this increased bandwidth usage through junk mail, they’ve had to tighten up on their network filters.

And now you might be thinking “So why do I still get spam?”

Well the spammers are professionals. They’re constantly looking at ways of getting emails through any filter at all. And that’s what they’re good at.

But you and me are just ordinary people trying to make a living off the net.

We don’t stand a chance. Any stray combination of words may trigger a spam filter, we don’t know what might cause it, and so we lose out.

Now apply what I’ve described above, happening to you in a business situation where you have customers you’re trying to hold a conversation with.

It’s a disaster.

This is why my support desk software Ticket Desk Pro is now more useful to me than email.

Any ticket raised gets answered, and even if the automated notification message to my customer doesn’t get through to them, they’ll still see their reply when they come back to check up on what’s going on.

So if you want to beat what the spammers have done to you, grab a copy of Ticket Desk Pro now, and set your business running smoothly again.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business