December 04, 2008

Disqus Gets Serious About Growing Comment Spam Problem

In the months I've had Disqus installed as the comments engine to my blog, I've been lucky enough to see some great engagement with readers of the site. The centralization and tracking of my comments around the Web, in addition to managing my comments in one place, and via e-mail have been a big help also, as has the service's extensibility and tracking via sites like BackType and FriendFeed. But one of the downsides of Disqus' popularity is that it has grown a bigger target for comment spammers aiming to shill for their prescription drug of choice, and all too frequently offering up ridiculous items, like gold for the game World of Warcraft. But as of tonight, Disqus has rolled out some new spam moderation functions that let you help fight the spam battle and, hopefully, reduce the amount of spam going forward.

In July, I suffered my first Disqus comment spam attack. Though it remains the largest flare-up to date, hundreds of spam messages have flowed into my mail box through the blog. Every morning, and at various points during the day, I'm faced with the routine of hitting reply to each e-mail and saying "Delete", to get the offensive gunk off my blog. I'd rather do that than leave the automated barnacles hanging on my posts, but the situation hasn't been getting better of late.

My Archive of Removed Messages Is Expanding

In addition to the 40 real comments I got on the blog today, I also got about 10 fakes - with about three or so a day in recent weeks. The topics themselves don't vary, but the names do.

Disqus Asks for Us to Help Them Fight Spam

Now, according to the Disqus blog, I can reply back to assumed spam with the simple one word command of "Spam", adding to the service's knowledge and helping them form a blacklist. You can also go into the admin section of your Disqus site and block the comments as spam there.

The war between Web services, e-mail, comments and spammers will never be over, I am afraid, but at this point, the move is yours, spammers. Disqus isn't taking this fight lying down. The service also promises some new features coming soon, including a new interface and internationalization.