There must be a better way to deal with comment spam

During the past week, I’ve had a trickle of comment spam on my blog. Nothing that I’m overly concerned with (not yet, anyway), but sufficient that for the first time since I started this blog, I’ve been deleting certain comments.

I’m mindful of the experience Trevor Cook reported last week, when he had what appeared to be a concerted comment spam attack on his blog. Trevor’s is a TypePad blog, too, like mine, and he had to spend an awful lot of time manually removing loads of such spam.

Shel Holtz was slammed by spammers in early December which led to his switching to a new blog platform that included what appears to me to be a very good spam-prevention mechanism – Captcha, which requires you to fill in a text box from the distorted characters shown in a graphic image. Read this post by Shel for an explanation of it. Shel’s blog, incidentally, is based on Expression Engine.

The only way you can deal with comment spam on a TypePad blog is after the event (this is what the TypePad knowledge base article says about it). And that means manually deleting the spams. Nightmare, especially if you have loads such as Trevor did. You can also block the IP addresses. Fine if the spammers always use the same IP address, but they don’t.

There is no way – as far as I know – to install a Captcha preventative system on a TypePad blog, at least not on the service level I have (TypePad Plus). Does anyone have any ideas on how to deal with comment spam in a TypePad blog from a preventative point of view, ie, that’s before rather than after the event? Other than turning off commenting, that is…

4 thoughts on “There must be a better way to deal with comment spam

  1. There is, we’ve been talking about this for a bit at my site – use teh site search at the top and search for “comment spam” and “blog spamming” – ive tracked back MT a bunch of times but nobody seems to want to listen to either the spammers, some of whom frequent Threadwatch or the SEO guys – which make up a large amount of the readership…
    Hmmmm.. now i’ve spammed your blog with plugs for my site hehe… 😉

  2. Yeah, I’m a little worried about this. And trackback spam too. I just got blasted by trackback spam on my personal blog the other day, but it’s on WordPress and preventing such spam is relatively easy.
    I understand TypePad has blocked some ports or something that spammers often use. But if Trevor got nailed, the rest of us will get it too, eventually.
    This is one of the (few) areas that I’m a bit disappointed in TypePad. Stats reporting is the other…

  3. Thanks Nick. Indeed, there is a lot of comment at Threadwatch, all good stuff. Yet no one has anything to say (that I could find) re comment spam on a TypePad blog.
    Rick Bruner over at Business Blog Consulting posted a link to a detailed and very good guide to dealing with comment (and trackback) spam, published by Six Apart. Extremely useful – if you use Movable Type. Unfortunately, no reference to dealing with it in a TypePad blog (which, as everyone knows, is a Six Apart service).
    Here’s the link Rick posted:
    Bren, I think you’re right – Trevor’s experience isn’t very encouraging.
    One interesting thing in the Six Apart guide is re the TypeKey user authentication service. This works on Movable Type blogs and has an API for other apps.
    As it’s a Six Apart development, maybe this would be a relatively easy implementation for TypePad (although if it were, I guess they would have done something with it already).
    But in the meantime…

  4. One other comment re your point, Bren, about stats reporting.
    I agree, that is another weakness in the TypePad offering. Have you tried Statcounter ( I use the free version of that service. Sufficient for what I need right now.
    There’s also a very neatly-implemented service offered by GeoLoc in France ( This is who is responsible for the little map I have here (right-hand column) that shows who’s visiting this blog. That’s just the pretty part – rich detailed stats on their server.
    Another service it would be good to have in TypePad is an RSS feed for comments in posts. As a TypePad blog owner, I get emails every time a comment is left on my blog. But you don’t know if a new comment is left here unless you come back and visit again.
    That’s a bit of a missing link for sustaining conversations.
    Shel Israel had some good suggestions on TypePad services:

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