By January 25, 2011

reCAPTCHA added to comment section

Anti-spam plugin Akismet has saved Gibberish from over 150,000 spam comments since I started using it in October of 2006. It has been absolutely wonderful, especially since it is free.

However, there are some “comments” that slip through. A few of these are straight up automated spam bots, with dozens of links to sites for porn, warez, drugs, etc. I would say that another 10 – 15% of comments are legitimate content posts but contain links to private businesses or for-profit blogs, usually blogs that aggregate other blogs and attempt to generate ad revenue from the traffic. I generally list these as “spam.”

The majority of the spam comments that slip through are definitely spam, but small scale enough either in volume or number of links to slip by Akismet’s heuristic filter. The comment might be in broken English or seem 90% legit and then throw in some auto-generated gibberish language at the end.

I hope that by implementing reCAPTCHA on Gibberish it will reduce comments made by “astroturfers,” people who are paid to promote businesses or products on blogs and forums. Some astroturfing is manual, and I doubt that adding a reCAPTCHA form will stop all of them. However, for some semi-automated approaches it might slow down ‘turfers to the point where they move on to another site.

I apologize to those of you that are actual humans making actual comments. The reCAPTCHA process is the most usable CAPTCHA scheme I could find that also works reasonably well. Furthermore, reCAPTCHA helps with Google’s initiative to scan things like the New York Times and some books offered on Google Books. So it’s not entirely wasted effort.

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