I can’t believe I missed marking the milestone. We were officially 1 year old on April 24th. Notice I said “we” like this is some huge operation? Kinda like Homer Simpson’s web business CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet. Anyway, On the 24th of April, I was still mired in my “without a PC” phase. Thus, the occasion wasn’t properly marked. So, lets make with the birthday spankings!
We’ll call this the baker’s birthday. 13 months. Kinda like the baker’s dozen, only different.
Just a few statistics to throw your way.
- 166 total posts by me
- 357 comments by you people
- I average about 15 to 20 unique visitors a day (granted, I know most of those visitors personally, but that’s ok)
I have really enjoyed having an outlet for my creative juices. Although, I don’t know how creative it is to bitch about sports and TV, but whatever.
There is one thing that has not been so fun about this blog. The only thing, really.
You know spam. If you have been on the Internet for more than 37 seconds, I guarantee you have become personally acquainted with the vile stuff. On this blog, I have battled tooth and nail against it. “But, I’ve seen no spam on your site!” you may exclaim. You would be correct, but behind the scenes, it has been a different story.
Back when I first started this thing, I never had any spam. I think it was a month before my first spam comment came in. WordPress has a built in option which I have enabled that requires everyone who wants to comment to be “approved” first. If a comment comes in that isn’t from an approved user, it goes into what is called the moderation queue and automatically fires off an email to me saying there is a new message in there. In the early days, I would get maybe 2 or 3 a week in this moderation queue. And they were easy to look at and approve any real comments while deleting any spam.
Then Google’s tendrils found and indexed my site. While this is terrific (it allows people searching for all sorts of things to find my writing) it also allows spammers to find another spam target. So, my traffic from non friends and family increased, but the spam began to grow.
First it was 3 or 4 a week showing up in the moderation queue. Quickly it became 3 or 4 a day. All of those notifications from the moderation queue was like my own blog was spamming my email! I had to take action.
First, I tried a plugin (additional functionality you can incorporate into WordPress) which shut off comments to old posts. Thus, you can’t go back and make a comment on a post from a month ago. Well, that didn’t seem to make any changes at all. So, I tried an actual spam tool plug in. It is called Akismet.
This Akismet spam filter creates a separate spam folder and uses some sort of smart processing to determine what is spam, and throws it in there instead of the moderation queue. Terrific! No more emails! Plus, you can see all of the spam that comes in, and you can weed out any real comments that might be caught, since no filter is perfect, right?
This worked well enough, but as time passed, the sheer volume of spam was becoming unbelievable. Last month, it hit critical mass. I was getting upwards of 40 to 50 spam comments a day. I would check the spam filter on Monday (after cleaning it on Friday) and there would be 350 spams in there. That is way to many to try to scan through for any real messages that might have gotten caught. I had to just delete them all. I know there have been real comments deleted, and if yours was one of them, I can only apologize.
Since I installed the Akismet plugin, it has caught 5,278 spam comments. I’ve only had it installed for maybe 6 months. I needed another layer of defense. I noticed that the vast majority of the spams were pimping prescription drugs via the internet. Now, I don’t know about you, but I buy ALL my federally controlled meds from total strangers sending anonymous spam messages on the internet. I mean seriously, who in their right friggin mind would do that!?! Don’t answer that, there are plenty of dumbasses out there… I digress…
Two weeks ago, I found a very simple plugin called TanTanNoodles Simple Spam Filter (no, I don’t know who names these things). All it basically does, is allow me to create a list of words that are strictly verboten from being used in comments. Like I said, very simple. If you try to post with them in your comment, it will basically tell you to piss off.
Hot damn, it works! Since I activated it 2 weeks ago, it has blocked 1,406 sure fire spams from even getting to the site. In conjunction with Akismet (which has caught an additional 267 comments, 4 of which were REAL comments I was able to rescue) I have really made a difference.
For the record, here is the list of words you are no longer allowed to use while commenting on my site:
‘cialis’, ‘ringtones’, ‘phentermine’, ‘viagra’, ‘cymbalta’, ‘ephedra’, ‘tramadol’, ‘zoloft’, ‘xanax’, ‘ambien’, ‘valium’, ‘lexapro’, ‘ultram’, ‘hydrocodone’, ‘propecia’, ‘fioricet’, ‘soma’, ‘percocet’, ‘Oxycontin’, ‘zithromax’, ‘alprazolam’, ‘adderall’, ‘xenical’, ‘vicodin’, ‘ephedrine’, ‘meridia’, ‘levitra’, ‘oxycodone’
So, if any of you want to try to hawk me some cheap viagra or propecia, sorry. You won’t be able to do it here.
And so, as we head into our second baker’s year the battle continues. I promise to try to write more. I’ve fallen off the wagon, so to speak, but I really want to get back up.Â I’m also going to start breaking these posts up using the little “more” link at the bottom in order to make the main page a little nicer to look at.Â There may be some more changes too…
Watch for more soon!