Just Another (Spammy) Day At The Office

So one sits down at the computer this morning only to find several spam comments in the moderation queue. It seems the drug spammers have found my site again. But I – and all the bloggers who I have created wordpress blogs for – have a secret weapon in the fight against spammers. So secret in fact that I haven’t told them much about it or how to use it. So that is why I am writing this post.

First let us find out what drug spam looks like.

Spam

You see the words underlined in red in the URL’s? Those are the drug names. They will always be spelled right. You can block the drug words within the comments themselves using the TanTan Noodles Simple Spam Filter plugin. If you only did that, you would start to see the drug names spelled wrong within the comments. The spam would not stop. So my Other Half modified our version of TanTan Noodles to enable you to block words within the URL’s. Here’s how you do it.

Tan Tan Noodles Simple Spam Filter

First of all, where do you find this spam filter?

Spam Filter

Comments (light blue)

Spam Filter (dark blue)

Here is the screen you will see when you click on spam filter – yours may not have all the words mine does, though.

Spam

How To Block Spam –

All you need to do is enter in the word you want to block. If it is a word that was in the URL, put it under banned patterns. If it is a word found within the comments, put it into the banned words list. The plugin looks at your Akismet spam and puts words that you may want to add at the bottom of the page. You can click on those words to add them to the banned words list. Once you have finished putting the words in, click on save rules. Then you’re done – and so are the spammers.

What will the spammers see?

Not a great deal, because they are usually robots or computer scripts, not real people. But if they were real people they would get this screen –

Spam

If they are a robot or a computer script, they can’t click on the button. That is how the spam gets blocked. From time to time it may be possible that one of your regular commentors will use a banned word and they will see this screen. It tends to freak them out a little. So it is a good idea to try and keep the banned words to words not used in every day comments.

Take Care With Banned Words.

You will see a bit of spam that simply says “Hi, great site” – I blocked the word great for a while but then I unblocked it after a commentor told me they saw the screen and they weren’t sure what to do..  it is easier for me to manually handle that kind of spam than to scare my commentors. They don’t show up anywhere near as often as the drug spammers do. Overnight I had 8 drug spam comments and another 2 more showed up before I put in the new drug words.

Any Questions?

If you have questions, the comments section is open. Feel free to ask away!

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7 thoughts on “Just Another (Spammy) Day At The Office

  1. Good tips. I worked at a place that put a filter on all incoming email to deter inappropriate spam emails. We later found that one of our customers whose company name was middlesex, couldn’t get their files through to us. Our IT people had to change the filter – it was blocking middlesex because it contained the word “sex.” So I thought you might enjoy that story. ;)

  2. Actually Alex your point is an important one – Akismet is quite a resource hog. I use the TanTan Simple Spam Filter to stop spam before Akismet has to look at it. That means less load on the server CPU. ;) Akismet is a good and necessary thing and we should all make use of it in order to fight spam – sort of as a team, because Akismet learns from all of us – but the TanTan can be an excellent thing too. :)

    And to those people who don’t understand this comment from me, let us just say that too much load on the server CPU can be bad for your blog and my server!.

    Chee

  3. Hi Snoskred,

    Good article – although it’s worth pointing out to people that the spam in the first picture is actually being blocked by the Simple Trackback Validation plugin (hence the Blocked By STBV in the picture).

    Simple Spam Filter won’t catch these as they are trackback, not comment, spam. If they were comment spam, then they wouldn’t be in the list, because Simple Spam Filter would give the message you show requiring them to confirm the message.

    I know you know this. I also know you need to show examples and Simple Spam Filter won’t give you any. I just feel the urge to explain this for others. Sorry!

    By far the majority of spam I get is trackback spam and the Simple Trackback Validation plug is a must have. Personally I just get the plugin to delete them, rather than sending them to the Askimet queue – there were no false positives in the 3 or 4 weeks I moderated them. Now I have almost no spam…

  4. you always have such great advice about all this! i was thinking of you the other day when i was getting some scam telemarketers harassing me. I thought what would snos do to get rid of this pests!

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