(WordPress Plugin) Don’t fix something that is not broken. Before we look for the solution, let’s see what’s wrong with Akismet.

Akismet vs. GASP

What’s wrong with Akismet?

False positves, false positives, false positives.

Darren Rowse and Abe Olandres complained about it in 2008. Fast forward 2011, the problem still very much exist.

I had fish legit comments from the sea of spams caught by Akismet countless of times, even when SheepTech is relatively new.

What’s worse? You cannot whitelist that particular person after you’ve “Not spam” his comment. The next time he post a comment, it will again be marked as spam. Damn.

The blog lost a legit comment. The commentator wasted his time and effort. Lose-lose.

What is GASP?

This plugin will add a client side generated checkbox to your comment form asking users to confirm that they are not a spammer. It is a lot less trouble to click a box than it is to enter a captcha and because the box is genereated via client side javascript that bots cannot see, it should stop 99% of all automated spam bots.

Simply put, GASP is a checkbox that fights comment spam on WordPress blogs. It works the same way as CAPTCHA, except instead of typing in random characters, you will only have to tick a checkbox.

And yes, I have replaced Akismet with GASP on SheepTech.

I was as skeptical as you when I first learn about GASP, how can a checkbox possibly be more effective than Akismet, the most popular anti-spam plugin for WordPress?

The number speaks for themselves.

Real Statistics

Akismet catches hundreds of spam comments a day here on SheepTech. It takes serious effort to search for legit comments among them, I would rather spend my time doing something more productive.

What about GASP? First day of installing, 2 spam comments made it through. The following few days, maximum two spam comments a day, but just once or twice they were published before my eyes. The rest (which also rarely exceed one) were held for moderation.

In fact, there is totally no spam comments on SheepTech for the past two days!

In short:

  • Akismet: Search for legit comments among hundreds or thousands of spam comments everyday
  • GASP: Moderate/check one or two (or none!) spam comments occasionally among the not-so-overwhelming legit comments

It says a lot to reduce thousands of spam comments to just a few.

GASP is Not Foolproof Though

As mentioned above, GASP is not totally foolproof. Very few spam comments still manage to bypass GASP and got themselves published.

This is however totally manageable. Since the first day GASP is activated on this blog, I have added quite a number of keywords to the comment blacklist. Most of the spam comments have common characteristics, so it’s really effective.

Comment Moderation keyword blacklist

Keywords can be added to the blacklist at Settings > Discussions.

Akismet or GASP?

I have absolutely no regrets after deactivating Akismet for GASP. It’s your call though. I would put the situation like this:

Akismet is your elite army, a team of killing machines defending your castle against your enemies. With the advanced weapon they are equipped with, the enemies stand no chance against them.

They however are too arrogant. They would kill anyone on the battlefield, including civilians. Of course, they will not take your orders. You as the king would have to go out yourself, search among the injured armies for civilians and try to rescue them.

Castle war

GASP? The enemies don’t even know where your castle is, let alone attack it. You can live peacefully, but only until the day the enemy’s intelligence found your castle (if the spammers can break CAPTCHAs, it’s only a matter of time till they have a workaround for GASP, I guess).
Peaceful castle

[GASP on WordPress Plugin Directory >>]






This post has 30 comments.

  1. Vuong
    09 Jan 11
    12:22 pm

    Should I install both mate? BTW, I am intending to broaden more niche on my blog. Any suggestion friend?

    Reply

    Vincent replied:

    You can use both Akismet and GASP, but that will also mean the false positives problem will still be there.

    I’d suggest just writing on articles that bloggers are interested in, since most if not all of your readers are bloggers.

    How to write better content, how to make more money, which ad network pays more, how to optimize your blog, WordPress related articles, awesome tools that can help us blog better etc.

    Reply

    Vuong replied:

    @Vincent, Thanks for your suggestion mate.

    I am intending to write about Tech stuff (like yours) though many top bloggers advise that we should not do it. Sometimes I feel jealous with other success like you. I think Google Adsense is one of the top income for bloggers but we can only get much from it with the content related to tech, product etc.

    BTW, do not send me a Quora invitation mate. Thanks.

    Reply

    Vincent replied:

    @Vuong, it’s better to start a new tech blog than writing on two separate topics on one single blog.

    Most “blogging” blogs make money off affiliate rather than AdSense, selling themes, plugins, hosting, domain etc.

    If you get things right, you can make way more money with affiliate than what AdSense has to offer.

    You can even sell your own e-book once you have established your authority in the field you are blogging in.

    Reply

  2. Use Akismet in combination with Conditional Captcha WordPress Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-conditional-captcha/ and they both will beat GASP :)

    Reply

    Vincent replied:

    Looks great. No false positives, and no hassle for most genuine commentators. Will use this combination if GASP is no longer able to stop the spambots.

    Thanks for letting me know.

    Reply

  3. Great comparison :) I use .htaccess to block spam comment and akismet. One or two spam comments still can go through. If it is not improving, I will consider to use this plugin since many blogs also using it.

    Reply

    Vincent replied:

    Any false positives from Akismet so far?

    Reply

    Alvin Lim replied:

    @Vincent, Yupe. Some spam comments manage to get through. Guess it is not the ultimate solution.

    Reply

  4. Lloyd
    16 Feb 11
    10:08 am

    Thanks for the great article. I actually stumbled across your site while researching Akismet and found 2 great plugins from your post….GASP is one and Comment Luv is the other. Thanks again.

    Reply

    Vincent replied:

    Glad that you find it useful :)

    Reply

  5. I am also using GASP after I got irritated with Akismet’s false positive. I am sick with Akismet. I hope they improve their service.

    Reply

  6. Vicky
    26 May 11
    6:37 pm

    whoa, you kidding me? I got more false positives than freaking spam with Akismet. Had to waste 1-2 hours daily to dig through the archives and accept all the legit comments and guess what, when that same person would comment again, bam! categorized as spam yet again.

    I’ve since changed to GASP and I’m loving it.

    Reply

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  17. Kari
    06 Jul 13
    7:04 am

    Initially I had no spam problems, then a lot. Probably as your pages start being indexed by Google more spammer tools crawl your commentable pages and then push spam scripts to them? At some points I was getting 5-10 comments a day. I installed AVH First Defense Against Spam and noticed a dramatic drop in spam. I still get 1-2 comments a week as spam, but that is better than 10 a day. I actually have Akismet installed as a plugin too, not sure whether Akismet or AVH first defence is the plugin that is helping. Either one of them rocks, or a combination of the two is good also.

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