Akismet stats changes

If you regularly check your Akismet stats page – that’s in the Dashboard menu of wp-admin if you use WordPress – you might notice some changes soon. That’s because we’re working on some improvements to the way spam stats are recorded and displayed. We plan to make stats more useful for those who need it most, particularly those who use Akismet to monitor forum posts, tweets and so on.

We’ll announce new features here on the Akismet blog and on Twitter, so if you haven’t already, subscribe or follow to keep up.

If you’re the developer of an application, plugin or module that uses Akismet, now is a great time to get in touch via our contact form. We’d love to hear from you and we can help you take advantage of some of our forthcoming improvements.

Akismet Plugin Version 2.5.3 for WordPress

We’ve just updated the Akismet WordPress plugin to version 2.5.3. There are three changes in this update:

  • Specify the license is GPL v2 or later
  • Fix a bug that could result in orphaned commentmeta entries
  • Include hotfix for WordPress 3.0.5 filter issue

For those that have experienced issues with your commentmeta table growing in size, this update addresses that by making sure we don’t create orphaned rows in the table.

If you have automatic updates configured you’ll see the update in your dashboard soon. You can also download the zip file and manually install the update.

Adiós flash charts

Since the Akismet stats were first introduced (back in Oct 2008, the hint Joseph mentioned) they have required flash. Nowadays, there are several disadvantages to using flash for charts:

  1. None of the iOS devices support it
  2. There’s often a delay before chart data can be displayed
  3. We are forced to rely on a third-party .swf file which can’t be modified

We’ve redesigned the Akismet stats page to bring it in line visually with the rest of the WordPress admin. There are new view options: the last two months, the last six months, the last year, or all time.

Not only does the page look better, it also loads faster thanks to flot.js.  Flot is a great little open source chart library for jQuery.  Flot give us complete flexibility over how we display stats, and it allows you to view stats on any device that supports JS.

We hope you enjoy this update!

Brief DNS outage

On Jan 17th at 20:52 UTC there was a network outage that caused the Akismet.com DNS servers to be unavailable for 12 minutes. The problem has since been fixed, and everything is back to normal now.

This means that for some blogs, there was a brief window where the Akismet API servers were unavailable. If you’re running version 2.5 or later of the Akismet plugin, any spam or comments during that window were held in the moderation queue, then re-checked a few minutes later.

We apologise for the inconvenience. If you’re running WordPress 3.0+ and haven’t already upgraded to version 2.5 of the Akismet plugin, we’d like to remind you to update, since the new plugin includes features specifically designed to recover from a situation where your blog can’t reach the Akismet API servers.

If you’re ever in doubt, you can see independent third-party availability monitoring of the Akismet API servers here.

Akismet plugin 2.5.2 for WordPress

Today we’ve released another update for the Akismet plugin for WordPress, version 2.5.2. Check the Plugins tab of your wp-admin dashboard and follow the instructions to auto-update. If you don’t use the WordPress auto update feature, you can manually download the zip package from the Akismet plugin page on WordPress.org.

Like the previous 2.5.x versions of this plugin, it requires WordPress 3.0 or higher. If you haven’t upgraded to WordPress 3.0 (version 3.0.4 is the most recent) now is the time to take a look. WordPress 3.1 is at release candidate 2 so expect to see WordPress 3.1 coming out in the near feature.

Version 2.5.2 of the Akismet WordPress plugin includes some minor fixes and improvments:

  • Increases the HTTP request timeout
  • Fixed a typo in one of the function names
  • Increases the height on the Akismet stats page to avoid double scroll bars
  • Adjusts the style of author approved count and comment author name
  • Specifically check for super admins when doing a user role look up on multisite installs

All of these improvements are also live on all WordPress.com hosted sites.

The Akismet plugin for WordPress isn’t the only thing we’ve been working on recently. We have a treat for Akismet users that will go live next week.

What is it you ask? I’ll give you a hint. It is an update to a feature that has stayed more or less the same since late 2008. I think you’ll really like it. Now, no more hints, you’ll just have to wait until next week when it goes live :-)

Akismet plugin 2.5.1 for WordPress

Version 2.5.1 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress is now available. Check the Plugins tab of your wp-admin dashboard and follow the instructions to auto-update.

This version of the plugin requires WordPress 3.0 or higher. It fixes several minor issues in the 2.5.0 release, including:

  • Fixes a problem with the Auto-Delete Spam option that prevented spam from being deleted
  • The status badge is now displayed only when needed, and is less obtrusive
  • Fixes a rare bug that could cause the retry queue to get stuck
  • Several minor fixes to the deletion and retry cron jobs
  • i18n improvements

If you missed our announcement about the new features in Akismet 2.5, you can find it here.

If you don’t use the WordPress auto update feature, you can manually download the zip package from the Akismet plugin page on WordPress.org.

Akismet 2.5 for WordPress Released – Film at 11

Version 2.5.0 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress 3 is now available. Check the Plugins tab of your wp-admin dashboard for instructions on how to update automatically, or visit the plugin page for details.

This version requires WordPress 3.0 or higher.

This is the first Akismet release in a long time that includes visible new features (in addition to the usual behind-the-scenes magic of course). You can see them here in our short video:

Major changes since Akismet 2.4 include:

  • A comment status history, so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by Akismet, and which were spammed or unspammed by a moderator
  • Links are highlighted in the comment body, to reveal hidden or misleading links
  • If your web host is unable to reach Akismet’s servers, the plugin will automatically retry
  • Moderators can see the number of approved comments for each user
  • Spam and Unspam reports now include more information, to help improve accuracy

For those of you already using Akismet on your WordPress 3.0 blog, upgrading is quick and easy thanks to the plugin updater. If you haven’t yet tried Akismet, visit the Plugins tab to enable it, and get your API key here – it’s free for personal use.

If you’re still using WordPress 2.9 or earlier, please stick with Akismet 2.4, our legacy branch for old WordPress versions. Or upgrade to the soon-to-be-released WordPress 3.1, which has Akismet 2.5 built in.

20 Billion Served

Today Akismet caught its 20 billionth spam.

That’s an average of around 10 million per day over the 5 years since Akismet first launched. Currently we deal with 30 million spam comments on a typical day, or about 350 per second.

To put that in perspective: if Akismet users had to spend one second manually deleting each of those comments, it would have taken over 600 years to moderate them all. (And each new day’s flood of spam would add another year to the queue).

How much time has Akismet saved you? :)