There were two separate problems affecting availability of the Akismet API today.
The first was a network configuration problem that caused some servers to be unresponsive. Some users may have noticed problems during a 15 minute window starting around 12.30pm PST.
The second was caused by some spurious code that was inadvertently deployed to our production servers. The majority of API calls resulted in an invalid response for a 30 minute period starting around 11.00pm PST.
We apologize for the inconvenience. We’re investigating both incidents closely and putting new measures in place to prevent similar incidents from happening again.
Every month, over nine million websites use Akismet to stop spam.
The vast majority of those nine million sites are personal sites that get to use Akismet for free. But for the rest, we ask companies and people that make significant income from their sites to pay for Akismet. Many of these company sites and blogs are built by third-party developers or designers.
We want to help developers to encourage their customers to reduce spam. So we’re launching a Partner Program that rewards developers when their clients sign up for an Akismet subscription.
The Partner Program is currently by application only: if you’re interested you’ll find more information and an application form at akismet.com/partners.
The biggest gathering of WordPress users and developers takes place each year at WordCamp San Francisco. At this year’s three-day event, I gave a short presentation on the history of spam. Here’s the video:
Earlier this year we decided to add an option for individuals to be able to contribute to the running costs of Akismet. We believe that it’s really important that personal bloggers continue to have access to Akismet for free. But, for those that really value Akismet’s spam filtering, we wanted to provide a way to pay something.
So we added a ‘pay what you want’ option to free accounts on the signup page. While the overwhelming majority of people still choose a free account, we’ve seen a good number of people opt to pay, too.
We decided that the easiest way for users to pay something would be to use a slider. From day one this had a smiley face to the right of it. When you move the slider, the smiley changes based on how much you choose to pay. While we’ve tested a lot of things related to our pricing, we’d never tested the effect of the smiley face by itself, until now…
Of those users that chose to pay, here’s how the payments break down:
$6 – 20%
$12 – 13%
$18 – 4%
$24 – 33%
$30 – 7%
$36 – 19%
$40 – 2%
$48 – 2%
$6 – 25%
$12 – 33%
$18 – 10%
$30 – 5%
$36 – 27%
Can you spot the huge difference between the two?
It turns out, the $24 mark is the last smiling face position before switching to a slight frown ($18).
Looks like a simple frowning face can get people to double their payment from $12 to $24. We found this data super interesting, what do you think?
On August 8th at 21:53 UTC our API was unavailable due to an incorrect code change for approximately 6 minutes. Our automated systems alerted us to the downtime, at which point we immediately fixed the issue.
Our apologies for the downtime, no one likes to see spam slip through, especially us. We are taking another look at our automated systems to see what can be done to tighten the loop, with some additional measures to specifically prevent this type of error.
This is a good time to mention that the latest version of the Akismet plugin for WordPress has a built in re-check mechanism. If for some reason your WordPress site is unable to reach akismet.com it will automatically schedule the comment to be checked a few minutes later. You can update using the built in plugin updater in WordPress, or download the Akismet WordPress plugin directly for the plugin repository.
Visibility is important for any business with a web presence. HubSpot offers a free tool that helps you visualize how potential customers see your site. It’s an easy way to improve your site’s visibility.
One of the best ways to increase your online presence is to have a blog. As of today, we’re delighted to announce that blogs on HubSpot should have a lot less spam, thanks to their recent implementation of Akismet.
Here’s what one commenter on the HubSpot blog had to say about it:
“Looking forward to better spam protection. I really hate the Air Jordan and Coach ads we get all the time on HubSpot.”
I don’t think we could have put it any better. Welcome to the Akismet family, HubSpot!
We reached a big milestone today: Akismet caught its 25 billionth piece of spam. We’re now detecting spam at a rate of around 40 million comments a day.
We’d love to do even more. If you know of a blog, forum or social network that needs some help filtering spam, please let them know we’re here to help!
To celebrate the milestone, we’ve built a minisite with a guide to some of the different kinds of spam we filter. Check it out here: 25 billion minisite.
And, of course, we have some stats! We’ve dug through the 25 billion spams (well, some of the more recent ones) and found the following:
- Spammers are busiest on Friday at 20:00 GMT.
- Spammers are least active on Sundays at 14:00 GMT. (Do spammers go to church?!)
- A blog comment is 8% more likely to be spam on a Saturday morning than it is on a Tuesday evening.
And the winner is…
So what, you’ll be asking, was the 25 billionth spam? Here it is, a little bit of not-so-innocent flattery:
The lucky recipient was Harrisonburg’s Community News Network site hburgnews.com, to which we’re pleased to give a free lifetime subscription to Akismet!
The internet has a new super hero: WebBoy made his first appearance today. And we couldn’t be more pleased that he’s making use of his trusty plugin, Akismet.
We’ve seen some great tributes to Akismet over the last few years, but this one must be among the best. If you know of any others that we should be aware of (or would like to make one yourself!) please let us know in the comments.