As many new visitors to the site have noticed (at least those who are real), they’re not getting a message mentioning their lack of a gravatar, and some of them are going straight into the spam filter. What’s going on?

your choice! (cc)
Martin Fisch via Compfight

The title of this post tells it all. It’s the new addition to my plugins called Anti-Backlink, and it’s a free download available to anyone who’s purchased the CommentLuv Premium plugin from Andy Bailey. It adds way more functionality to trying to reduce the amount of spam blogs get while trying to encourage more people to take the time to go get a gravatar, or avatar for the uninitiated. If you’re going to be online and participating on blogs it’s a must.

Of course the plugin does so much more. Something you can do, that I don’t do, is set how many comments one has to have approved before they start getting CommentLuv link automatically. You can also make the determination that certain people’s posts you want to screen first, thus putting them on a moderated list via their email address. I like this one because there are a few people whose comments seem to vacillate between being okay and being horrible. Sometimes you just don’t know, and as much as I’m against initial moderation, I do believe if someone stops by and they seem slightly dodgy this isn’t such a bad idea.

You can also decide to whitelist email addresses so that they’ll never pass through moderation… as long as they pass any other rules you’ve set up on your blog, since mine has a hold on any comments with a link on them. However, it seems that whitelisting doesn’t take care of those few folks who keep using a particular browser that sends them to spam for whatever reason. lol

One other thing I activated, which will put a stop to something that’s irked me to no end for years, that some bloggers have recommended people do that’s sneaky, is to shut down folks who put more than just the root URL of their blog into the main area when they’re commenting.

Some folks try to get two links to articles on their site by being sneaky. What they’ll do is start off with the regular link, wait until the CommentLuv link comes up, then add a second article link. This plugin catches that and automatically holds that comment in reserve so that we can decide whether to remove it or blacklist the comment in its entirety.

The only minor problem I encountered while testing is that sometimes what it perceives is a sneaky backlink is actually where the blog is. For instance, my business blog is on my main business site, so after the link I have to add /Mitchblog for the link to the blog.

The real test? I used to have comments closed after 180 days, basically six months. Using this plugin along with the GASP pugin, also by Andy, I decided to see what happened if I opened it up to 365 days. Using both plugins, the amount of spam increased very little; almost everything else is being bounced so I’m not seeing it at all. Matter of fact, I just opened it up to 500 days as a further test.

Soon, the faceless will be less prominent here. At least I’ll still accept some folks if their comments are pretty good; not everyone is as nice. 🙂

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