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.
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.