There’s a Ninja in Your Akismet

One of our favorite additions to Akismet 3.0 is the new discard setting. Previously, our plugin featured an option that allowed site owners the ability to automatically discard spam on older posts. But, as some may certainly agree, it was rather confusing and had little effect on the world’s smarter spammers.

After giving thought to how we could improve that particular setting and the overall user experience, we found that approximately 80% of spam could be flagged as “pervasive”, meaning that it is the absolute worst of the worst (of the worst!). In fact, that 80% is so bad that there is simply no benefit in paying any attention to it at all. Not even for kicks and giggles. Trust us.

We came up with something that would allow you to automatically and silently discard all of that pervasive spam attacking your site so that it never even appears in your “Spam” folder. The new setting identifies the worst and most pervasive spam (which can certainly change over time) on our side during the comment check and will immediately discard it if you’ve configured the plugin to do so.

If you’re new to Akismet, these spam comments will be stored by default; you must activate the new feature from the plugin’s configuration page (if you upgraded to 3.0, Akismet will use the previous value of your 30-day discard setting) :

Akismet Discard Spam Feature

It’s all very ninja-esque, we think. What’s more, enabling the feature can result in significant reductions in your storage and resource usage requirements.

This is a great step forward in our mission to make the web a cleaner place. We tested the feature on WordPress.com and received excellent results and feedback prior to rolling it into the plugin. So, we think (and hope) you’ll enjoy it. We are also working on an enhancement to the feature, which will highlight the pervasive spam comments in the “Spam” folder for users who choose to store them.

If you have any feedback on the new feature, we would love to hear from you.

New in 3.0: Activation with Jetpack

We launched Akismet 3.0 just a few days ago and hope that you’ve already upgraded to enjoy its many new features. One of the nifty items we added to the mix is a seamless activation process using the popular Jetpack plugin.

Let’s take a closer look.

If you have Jetpack and Akismet installed and activated on your site – and the Jetpack plugin connected to a WordPress.com account – you will find this new feature in your dashboard via Jetpack → Akismet.

There, you will see which WordPress.com account is connected via Jetpack and an option to activate the Akismet plugin using that very same account.

Akismet Activation with Jetpack

Click on Use this Akismet account, and you’re all set! Of course, you will have the option to disconnect the account at any time from the same page in your dashboard.

And if you want to use a different account to activate Akismet, no worries at all. Simply select the option to register a different email address or manually enter an existing API key.

Digging the new flow? Any problems with it? Drop us a line.

Akismet 3.0.0 is now available

Version 3.0.0 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available.

This is a major rewrite of the plugin code. It includes many small improvements and some new features. In particular:

  • An easier signup and activation process
  • An even easier activation process for Jetpack users
  • A redesigned configuration tab
  • New stats charts (example shown below)
  • A new discard feature for outright blocking of the worst spam

stats-at-a-glance

To update to version 3.0.0, just use the plugin updater in your WordPress dashboard. If you’re running WordPress 3.9, there’s no need to update. If you haven’t installed Akismet on your WordPress blog yet, follow these instructions to get started.

Thanks again to everyone who helped test the new plugin and offered suggestions and bug reports.

Help test the next Akismet plugin

We’ve been hard at work on version 3.0 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress. It’s a major rewrite of the plugin code that includes a new configuration page, improved signup and activation, and some new features. We’ve shed most of the legacy code that was maintained for backwards compatibility with ancient versions of WordPress, and redesigned the code so we can bring you new features in coming months.

Since it’s a major change from previous versions, we could use your help testing the new plugin before its final release. If you’re comfortable manually installing a plugin in WordPress, you can download akismet.3.0.0-RC1.zip or use the 3.0.0-RC1 tag in the Subversion repository.

Try it out and tell us what you think – we have some exclusive Akismet swag for those who send bug reports and the most helpful feedback. Bug reports and detailed feedback is best sent via our contact form. You can leave general public feedback in comments below or on Twitter.

If you’re not sure how to install the plugin manually, or you’re not willing to run pre-release code on your site, we recommend waiting for the final release, which we expect to coincide with next week’s launch of WordPress 3.9.

Akismet WordPress plugin 2.6.0

The Akismet plugin version 2.6.0 for WordPress is now available.

It includes some incremental bugfixes since 2.5.9, plus some security and anti-spam improvements to how pingbacks work. Key changes since the last release:

  • Optimize javascript and add localization support.
  • Fix bug in link to spam comments from right now dashboard widget.
  • Fix bug with deleting old comments to avoid timeouts dealing with large volumes of comments.
  • Include X-Pingback-Forwarded-For header in outbound WordPress pingback verifications.
  • Add a pre-check for pingbacks, to stop spam before an outbound verification request is made.

There was a news cycle a few days ago about “WordPress pingbacks being used to DDOS sites” which had a lot of misinformation and hyperbole, but there were two valid issues which the last two bullet points address: anti-spam checks were done after a pingback was verified, and WP didn’t pass on who made the request that caused it to verify a pingback (effectively cloaking the true source). This update to Akismet addresses both, and we think a similar approach may be appropriate for core in a future release.

To update, just visit the Updates tab of your WordPress dashboard.

Partial API outage, Feb 9th 2014

There was a partial outage today that affected the Akismet API.

Starting around 21:53 UTC a network issue caused approximately 10% of API calls to fail. Our systems team routed traffic to alternate servers and the network problem was fixed. The partial outage lasted 20 minutes.

The WordPress Akismet plugin will automatically re-try any comments that were not correctly filtered as a result of the problem.

The API is now back to normal and responding to all traffic.

Akismet + VaultPress

Looking forward to a hitch-free 2014?

Spam protection and loss prevention are on everyone’s list of must-have WordPress tools. We think they naturally go hand-in-hand — and today, we’re excited to announce that you can take care of both these essentials with a single subscription.

We’re pleased to offer a new bundle subscription that includes both the spam-zapping brilliance of Akismet Professional and the fantastic VaultPress Lite service, with its  daily backups, 30-day archive, and one-click automated restores.

Along with the uncompromising spam protection that Akismet provides, you can now guarantee the safety of all your WordPress content, from database tables and plugins to themes and uploads — with VaultPress, your entire WordPress installation is safe and sound. You can choose a monthly subscription ($9 per month), or save $15/year by opting for an annual subscription ($99). Separately, the subscriptions would run you $10 per month or $114 per year.

The signup and activation process is simple and seamless. Make it your New Year’s resolution to grab the bundle, and stop worrying about annoying spam, asteroid strikes, extraterrestrial attacks, or unintentional mistakes after those long nights of blogging. You can sign up on our plans page.

If you have any questions about the bundle, please feel free to get in touch with us via akismet.com/contact. We’re always ready and happy to help.

Our 2013 In Review

As 2013 draws to a close, we at Akismet would like to let you know just what we’ve been up to — and, of course, wish you a very happy holiday season.

For the abridged version, we’ve prepared a nifty infographic illustrating the year that was:

Akismet 2013 Year In Review Infographic

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