Why You Shoudn’t Use Akismet

Do you run a WordPress blog? If so, you’ll be well aware of ‘comment spam’ which will commence almost simultaneously with your site’s initiation.  Indeed, spammers appear to uncannily locate your site even before Google does! To combat this annoyance, there are several plugins available to help alleviate this problem and Akismet is probably the best known as it comes already bundled with WordPress. Ignoring for the moment the ethical implication of combining a commercial service with an open source product, here are a few reasons why I don’t use Akismet:

 You rarely get anything for FREE!

Pricing of Akismet is my first concern. If your personal blog has no advertisements attached to it, then Akismet’s service is free – otherwise, you have to pay for it! But, the distinction between a ‘personal’ blog and a ‘professional’ blog is extremely vague and if you have a problem distinguishing between the two, you are advised to contact one of Akismet’s ‘Happiness Engineers.’ This nonsensical name in itself deters me from using their services!

Akismet’s pricing structure is here.

My second concern is performance. Akismet’s history of highlighting obvious spam is lamentable. You will still have to manually go through the comments and mark them, because of the false positives and this will be extremely time-consuming if your site is reasonably busy. Added to this, the amount of server and database resources it takes to run Akismet is disproportionate to the service’s performance and whilst they may have tweaked their product since this article was written, the issue still remains.

 Privacy Matters!

My third and most important concern is privacy. Akismet saves and stores IP addresses along with other information used by a commenter on your blog. Precisely what are Akismet doing with this information? If you read the section of their Privacy Policy entitled ‘Protection of Certain Personally-Identifying Information’ you will see that they reserve the right to share this information with whomever they like.

Are they selling information to third parties? Akismet claim they don’t do this, but their privacy policy doesn’t prevent them from doing so.  Are they sharing it with government agencies? Almost certainly they are, whether it is willingly or unintentionally shared, because under US law, companies can be ordered to share their data with the government and to also remain silent about their collusion. Alternatively, since the Edward Snowden and Russell Tice revelations, it is apparent that the government may just take the data and use it for whatever purpose they wish.

Both of these practises may cause you a serious problem as disclosing information to third parties is illegal in some jurisdictions and you may need to spend time updating your privacy policy if you use Akismet.

Click here to read an impressive article concerning the preservation of your privacy.

So, with a vague pricing policy, doubtful performance and serious privacy issues, why would you ever contemplate using Akismet?

 Alternatives to Akismet

One easy option is GASP.  This simply adds a checkbox to the comments form so that comments cannot be entered without first checking the box. I’ve tried it on a few blogs and it’s surprisingly effective for such a simple idea. This stops the robots from commenting at all. On the other hand, human spammers are still able to freely post spam.

Another choice is AntiSpam Bee. This performs a comparable function to Akismet without the false positives. It is also much less space-consuming on your database and after you uninstall it, it will even clean up after itself! Most importantly, it does not send your comments to third party servers where they are out of your control. This eliminates any privacy issues and keeps both you and your clients safe.

The combination of these two plugins has proven to be extremely effective in almost completely eliminating comment spam and they’re the obvious alternative to the questionable Akismet.



About daviswinn4625

No Comments

Leave a Comment