For years, Akismet has improved life on the Web by analyzing comment form and contact form submissions and comparing them against millions of pieces of real-time content to catch and stop spam. This has gone well (533,000,000,000 times and counting), but it could be going even better.
Starting with version 5.0 of the Akismet plugin for WordPress, Akismet will begin analyzing how the content was posted in addition to what content is posted. What does this mean?
A typical human commenter on the Web takes about 40 seconds to read a blog post and another 40 seconds to write and submit a comment. Their typing speed varies significantly throughout the creation of their comment, and they regularly use their mouse to click around the page. An automated spambot (even one programmed to act like a person) doesn’t act so human-like: its typing speed and mouseclick speed are superhumanly consistent. It doesn’t spend time “reading” blog posts. Its mouse usage is sparse.
The differences in these behaviors between people and people-impersonating bots can be used to stop spam — even if a spambot is posting a comment identical to that of a real person, the way it does it is uniquely machine-like. The Akismet plugin will begin observing these behaviors so that they can be used as part of the spam-checking process. (None of this data is personally identifiable, and it won’t be used for any purpose other than identifying spam.)
To ensure that this latest anti-spam technology is being used to protect your website, upgrade to Akismet 5.0 by visiting the Updates page of your WordPress admin dashboard or by downloading it directly from the WordPress plugins directory.