As anyone that has surfed the web during the last years have noticed comment spam is wide spread, and highly annoying. Check the comments on blogs or web apps and you will find plenty of links left there by helpful people that really would like you to enlarge certain organs, sell you rolexxxes or need your help to get some dough out of Nigeria (I am the former prime ministers first bastard son, promise!). Fighting spam in your mail inbox is pretty simple these days, thanks to Thunderbird’s and GMails excellent anti-spam filters. Doing it in your WordPress blogs have also been a walk in the park for a long time, simply use the Akismet plugin you get with any WordPress installation and they will take care of it. Akismet is developed by Automattic (the company behind WordPress) and describes itself as “a big machine that sucks up all the data it possibly can, looks for patterns, and learns from its mistakes”. Send your comment data to them and they will compare it to their database and tell you if it is spam or not.
Now when I am writing some of my own web apps I would like to avoid spam to overwhelm me, both via contact forms and comments. Lo and behold, Akismet is available as a web service, and via some ready made libraries it is very easy to use from outside WordPress as well. I am using Elliot Haughin’s CodeIgniter Library, but there are also libraries for PHP, .NET, Ruby on Rails, Drupal etc etc. All you need to do is to get a Akismet API Key from WordPress.com (register, then go to My Account and Edit Profile and you will find the key), download a library (or start writing your own from Akismets API) and start sending all comments to Akismet. The API Key is free for personal use, cost $5/month if you make more than $500/month from your site and cost a bit more for Enterprises. Well worth it I say, it will save you time and frustration all around, and make your website so much cleaner. There is no longer any excuse to suffer comment spam.
Thanks Akismet for one of the best and most usefull web services around!