Help: I’ve been tossed in spam limbo!
One of the things I enjoy about blogging is reading new comments on my posts. In fact, interacting with my readers and reading their valuable feedback is one of the things I enjoy the most about blogging. I also like to visit other blogs from time to time and leave comments on their site, as well.
Recently, an anti-spam software known as Akismet has been throwing a wrench in the works. At some point, for some reason, I was blacklisted on every site running Akismet. I was even tossed in the spam when I commented on my own blog when I was not logged in.
It would be one thing if it was just happening to me, but I’ve read about many fellow bloggers experiencing problems, as well. I have heard about them going into the spam on other blogs, and I have seen them go into my own spam. I wondered if someone would be actively attacking us, or if it was simply a bug on Akismet’s side.
My fellow jail inmates
Here are some of my fellow bloggers that I have personally seen tossed into the spam by Akismet; these are all legitimate bloggers, and I would never personally mark them as spam. Sorry if your comment took a while to show! These guys are all great bloggers and their sites are well worth visiting: Personal Finance By The Book, Andrew Hallam, Everyday Tips & Thoughts, My Financial Objectives, Wealth Pilgrim, Buy Like Buffett, Redeeming Riches, Wealth Informatics, Budgeting In the Fun Stuff, Bucksome Boomer’s Journey to Retirement, Money Reasons, Len Penzo, My Dollar Plan, Beating The Index, Happy Heart and Mind, DQYDJ.
Negotiating for parole
I contacted Akismet support, and they replied after about a week, informing me that the problems should be fixed. Everything seemed OK for a couple of days, and then all of the problems were back, again. I contacted them again, and this is the answer I received:
This is fixed but we cannot continually undo what bloggers are telling Akismet.”
So apparently, bloggers have been telling Akismet that me and others are spammers? How could this be? I know for a fact that more than 20 bloggers have kindly marked me as “not spam” after I let them know about my troubles with Akismet and that I probably ended up in their spam, and to please mark me as “not spam”.
Tell me, Akismet, what did I do to make you angry? I don’t hate you, but I’m frustrated that you’re making it so difficult for me to leave comments on other sites, and for other bloggers to leave comments on mine.
Rolling a double: breaking out of prison
Mrs. Accountability has published a great post about the topic on her site: “What To Do If You’ve Been Labeled As Spam by Akismet”
Since Akismet has not been giving me an accurate appraisal of who is a spammer and who isn’t, I now run these two plugins:
- Bad Behavior
- SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam
With the combination of these two plugins, I get just about zero spam, and all legitimate bloggers are able to post without worrying about getting ensnared in the spam. I have heard that other blogs have had issues running captchas, but this plugin seems to work well on my site; please let me know if you encounter any issues, though!
After sending half a dozen emails and waiting almost two weeks, I finally received an update from Mark:
“This is fixed.
It cannot under any circumstances be fixed again. We will not go against what bloggers tell Akismet.”
Well, thank you for fixing it, again, but you actually have been going against what bloggers have been telling Akismet all of this time. Seeing as how so many fellow non-spammers have also been affected, the problem is clearly with Akismet, not us. These problems should never have happened in the first place.
As you can tell, yes, I am frustrated with Akismet’s idea of “support”.
UPDATE 01-09-2010: This appears to be a more widespread problem than I originally thought: I have recently come across the following posts:
Learning to Blog: Tip a Day 19: Install Akismet
Just Ask Kim: WordPress Plugin Review: Akismet (Anti-Spam)
Growmap: Akismet Deletes Comments Bloggers NEVER SEE!
UPDATE 03-09-2010: My buddy Mich joins me in spam jail: Weekend Edition: On Spam and a Traffic Jam
UPDATE 20-01-2012: I have posted a follow-up here: Problems with Akismet? Try These Great Free Alternatives. If you insist on using Akismet, then I also highly recommend installing and using Conditional Captcha.
So, reader, am I a spammer? Was it only a matter of time before I got caught, and will I be able to roll a double and break out of the spam jail? I am undoubtedly frustrated, and I hope that Akismet is able to fix their algorithms and do a better job in determining spammers from non-spammers in the future.