Fighting Spam Comments
March 07, 2012
As many of you have noticed, TypePad has seen an increase in spam comments not being caught. We've been digging into the spam fighting mechanics to make adjustments, and we're already seeing improvement.
TypePad also provides you with tools to help you manage your comment settings which can reduce spammers and other unwanted commenters.
Block List: You can add pretty much anything to the Block List as all fields of the comment form are checked for blocked content. Keywords can be added to help moderate inappropriate language. You can also block partial IP strings to prevent someone commenting from a location where the IP address changes regularly but stays within a range. The Block List can be used to prevent a troll from posting harassing comments as well. At Comments > Block List, you can add new items to the list. See the Block List article for more information.
Auto-close Comments: Spammers are more likely to target inactive posts on your blog. Set your posts to automatically close comments on posts after 1 week to 1 year. Auto-closing comments also gives you a quick way to close comments on all your posts at once if you are archiving a blog. At Settings > Comments, you can check the box to Automatically close comments, choose the time period from the drop-down menu, and click Save Changes. See the Comment Settings article for more information.
Require Authentication: By requiring authentication, all commenters will need to sign in to TypePad, Facebook, or other service before they can submit a comment adding a another level of security to your blog comments. At Settings > Comments, you can select Yes — require all commenters to sign in and click Save Changes to update your blog. See the Comment Settings article for more information.
Require readers to enter a randomly generated verification code: A verification code (or CAPTCHA) will be presented as a test to confirm the person submitting the comment is a human and not a toaster. A CAPTCHA may be presented before a comment can be submitted if the comment content resembles spam (multiple links, for example) even if you do not require it for all comments. At Settings > Comments, you can select Require readers to enter a randomly generated verification code and click Save Changes to update your blog. See the Comment Settings article for more information.
Please note longer comments posted to your blog may be held in moderation as suspected spam. If you see comments not appearing right away and you don't have moderation enabled, go to the Comments list, select the spam folder from the drop-down menu, and check for any comments which were mistakenly routed as spam. We have more information in the Why are comments not displaying? troubleshooting article.
The TypePad team is continuing to work to stop spam comments from being submitted and published to your blog. We appreciate your patience in this ongoing battle.
What about Spam Trackbacks?
Posted by: Nikita | March 07, 2012 at 06:34 PM
When it comes to spam I bet you guys feel like you're fighting a never ending battle! Just when you get one hole plugged they find another one : )
More spam has been sneaking through on my site-so thank you for the heads up!
Posted by: Tipper | March 07, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Hi Nikita! By default all TrackBacks are held in moderation. No TrackBacks will be published to your blog without approval, so you don't need to worry about spam TrackBacks appearing on your site.
Posted by: Jen | March 07, 2012 at 09:34 PM
I figured as much.
I'm Nikita's Human.
Our biggest concern has been getting 3000 spam comments a day on Meowsings. ( They love him, but apparently don't think much of me, hee, hee, because I only get maybe a few hundred a day.)
Yes, you make it easy to delete them all at once, even those few you can't keep from making it out of the spam collector, though not onto my blog, but I had hoped not to have to close comments on old posts to prevent the onslaught.
Posted by: Kiril Kundurazieff | March 07, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Captcha seems harder for legitimate posters than spambots. Half the time, I can't make out the letters. What about the system that asks you to complete a simple math problem? Is it any less secure?
Posted by: Mike Peterson | March 08, 2012 at 05:30 AM
hmmm. is there a way to turn off comments completely?
Posted by: WilliamThirteen | March 08, 2012 at 06:27 AM
I think you've done a terrible job of fighting spam. It's the same ones over and over again. I go through the trouble of marking them so you can record them and yet the same ones keep coming and coming.
Posted by: Russell Harding | March 08, 2012 at 11:05 AM
Hi William! You can change the default setting for *new* posts at Settings > Comments by unchecking the By default, accept comments... on New Posts box and clicking Save Changes. (more info: http://help.typepad.com/comment_settings.html )
For existing posts, you can change the comment status for multiple posts at once by going to the Posts list, checking the box next to each post (or checking the select all box), and using the More Actions menu to change the comment status. (more info: http://help.typepad.com/managing_posts.html )
Posted by: Jen | March 08, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Hi RA! It does look like you are receiving comments which should be routed as spam, and we're sorry about that. Did you consider closing comments on some of your older posts? You can also add keywords, like drug, to the Block List to prevent many of the comments you have received recently from being published.
We're constantly making tweaks to how we fight spam. For every one spam comment that sneaks through thousands are caught, but we strive to stop them all.
Posted by: Jen | March 08, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Does the spam filter "learn" from the ones you mark as spam? There are certain "repeat offenders" that it seems to be slow to recognize.
Posted by: Cookie the Dog's Owner | March 08, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Posted by: WilliamThirteen | March 08, 2012 at 04:40 PM
When I see how many spam get caught compared to the ones that get through, I'm very thankful. Keep up the good work.
Two things I've noticed recently is what I assume must be deliberate mis-spellings - interesting.
And use of facebook profile pages as the link they are spamming.
I've put a block on "facebook/profile" for now.
Posted by: David Ewart | March 08, 2012 at 10:06 PM
I've been a Typepad user since 2008 and usually see almost no spam. There has been an increase lately, but like you mentioned would happen, it's already decreasing. To help keep it down, I block a few keywords, such as "viagra," which will never be relevant to my blog.
Thanks for staying on it!
Posted by: Lori Seaborg | March 09, 2012 at 01:31 PM
TypePad Anti-spam does learn over time. You may not see the changes immediately when you flag several similar comments as spam, but TypePad Anti-spam does register the information submitted when you change the status of comment and use it in the future to better handle spam. We also manually adjust TypePad Anti-spam as we see trends.
Posted by: Jen | March 10, 2012 at 02:17 PM
I've been on Typepad since 2004 and used to get a lot of spam. Things seem to be improving now. I'm not very much in favour of the verification code, but auto closing comments after 2 weeks seems to work for me.
Posted by: Anastasia | March 11, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Hi Mike! We are investigating alternative options for the CAPTCHA, and we'll have more details about that soon.
Posted by: Jen | March 12, 2012 at 08:11 PM