Akismet Plugin - The Dark Side of Greed.
Last Update: Sep 7, 2016
We have been recommending Akismet for years here at Wealthy Affiliate and for the most part it has been quite a good little plugin for those who needed a tool to block comment spam from their websites.
However things have recently changed in the Akismet world and I wanted to make a public post about what is happening (and the specific actions we are going to be taking).
Akismet has gone from FREE to PAID.
While we don’t have a problem with paid plugins/themes (there are many out there), Akismet started out as a “by donation” plugin and has moved into a capitalistic plugin as they accrued a significant install base.
This would be no different than Facebook offering you a free social platform and then years later deciding there was going to be a $10 charge per month. Would you pay? Probably not, you would likely move onto the next better thing.
As a result of this decision by Akismet (as a company), we are no longer supporting the Akismet plugin here at WA and will no longer be installing it as a default plugin with every install.
Long Time Akismet Users Are Peeved
Akismet has also started pulling the rug out from under people that have used their plugin for years under the assumption that it is free (and it has always been free). It's not just new users to their plugin.
Many people have noticed that the plugin has been disabled or has an “warning” message indicating that they are operating a commercial website and they need to pay for Akismet if they wish to continue using it.
This is bad business and a greed driven decision in my opinion.
The fact that Wordpress (the umbrella company) owns Akismet makes it even more of a shock. You think they would lead they way in terms of ethics within their own platform, but I suppose that they are looking for new ways to generate revenue and one of the methods is through this particular plugin.
This Function Should Be Native to the Wordpress Platform
As progressive as Wordpress is, it is very surprising that they have not been progressive about protecting their users from comment spam. Most of you are probably unaware, but comment spam is NOT real people entering spam comments onto your site.
It is robots and scripts that are sent out looking for Wordpress based sites (by looking for certain characteristics) and then automatically dropping spam comments on your site, often times being able to completely bypass the comment field. These bots can hit 10,000's of sites in a day without issue.
The behaviour of these comments are easily detected as spam and although some of the "spammers" have gotten a little more crafty with the types of comments they are submitting, they are rather predictable.
Plugins like Akismet have stepped in and helped Wordpress users block these spammers. But since Akismet is pushing people to PAY for this service now which we feel was not fair to Wordpress users, we needed to take some concise actions.
So What Are We Going to Be Doing?
The good news is that there are great plugins out there and they are still completely free to use.
As of today, we are now pre-installing ALL websites with another established plugin used for preventing comment spam. It is called WP Spamshield.
I have been testing this over the past few weeks and I know some other members here within WA have always favoured this plugin over Akismet. It is free, it works well, and one of the beautiful things is that any website that you create is now going to be set-up with this plugin automatically. No set-up required (we even Activate it for you).
If you build a site here, your site is protected from comment spam. No more fiddling around with Akismet keys, creating Akismet accounts, and definitely no more outlay of money for something of this nature.
If you are currently using Akismet, you may want to consider removing it completely from your website. I have just gone through my own personal sites and replaced Akismet with WP Spamshield.
After you Deactivate your Akismet Plugin, you will be able to Delete it from your WP-admin area.
Upon doing this, you will want to go to the Plugins tab inside your Wordpress Administration area. Search for WP Spamshield. Your results will look like this:
Click the Install Now button and it will add this plugin.
Upon installing you will simply Activate your plugin. This is also done within your Plugins tab as you will now see it there. Although there are settings which you can adjust within this plugin, the default settings are more than fine and will block all incoming spam that comes to your website.
This plugin gets amazing reviews and has a backing of over 400,000+ installs which is a number that is high enough to show that there are enough webmasters out there that are confident enough in the plugin to use it on their personal and commercial websites.
It is trustworthy and it works brilliantly well!
**Note: If you install your websites as of today, you will no longer need to worry about any installation process for a comment spam plugin. The SiteRubix platform automatically takes care of this for you.
We Took a Frustrating Situation, We Made the Service Better as Result
For years, Akismet has kind of been the "go to" plugin that we have all associated with preventing comment spam. They are no longer the best in the industry, they are no longer free, and their greed based moves have lead us to improving our overall solution.
With WP Spamshield being installed with all website builders here at Wealthy Affiliate, there are many new benefits:
(1) You are no longer going to have to set-up a plugin, we have removed an entire step from the website set-up process.
(2) No more messing around with Activating and setting up the Akismet plugin which included setting up another account there, using keys.
(3) There are no fees associated with WP Spamshield, ever.
(4) All new websites you build are now automatically protected from comment spam.
(5) You are getting superior comment spam protection. This plugin is the real deal.
I know there has been a lot of frustration around this in recent months and we wanted to act on this very quickly. We thank everyone for their patience here and Akismet is also going to be stripped from all of the training here at WA.
If you do have any questions about Akismet, WP Spamshield, or feedback/experiences you would like to share about this whole debacle, leave your comments below. ;)
I can't find WP Spamshield anywhere in the Add New Plug Ins Menu?
You will find it if you do a search, search for WP Spam and it will come up.
You are likely searching through your own plugins, make sure you click Add New first.
Try this approach:
Go into your WP Dashboard, select plugins from the list on the left hand side, near the top left hand side, click on 'select new', near top right where it says 'search plugins' enter 'WP Spamshield'. Press Enter. A list of plugins is displayed, WP Spamshield being one of them. Click on 'install now'. After the install, you have the option to activate it, so activate it.
Yes becoming aware that Wordpress owns Akismet is interesting indeed. There does seem to be a little greed trending in the IM industry. No this is not good business practice. As it happened I started my 1st blog yesterday and before I saw this post.
When I saw payment was mandatory I decided not to pay, and to not utilize the Akismet plugin. And elected to find another plugin in it's place. I certainly don't mind paying for things I need. It was simply a matter of the way Akismet handled it.
This WP-Spamshield sounds great. Thank you for letting us know about a good alternative.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with "paying' for things you need to run your business. The problem is when a plugin moves from free to paid and when their are comparable if not better plugins available for free, it makes you wonder.
Lots of good alternatives out there, lots of people use AnitSpam Bee as well. Another solid option.
Thank you I am tired of paying for Akismet. I will also be deactivating my Akismet training video on file here.
Yeah, definitely the right thing to do here and you will notice absolutely no difference, in fact, you might see better spam filtering with a new plugin.
Lots of appreciation from WA members about this post, but I'm kind of surprised about the few negative comments given out, so here comes the boom.
1. As WA is more about helping, training, and giving amateurs tools to develop a brand and/or promote products, it is a big deal to those not familiar with spam (backlinking, bots) and XXS (crap payload) and how it affects your ability to delivery content (via SEO). Even setting up the API key can be tricky if you are close to internet-illiterate.
2. A great way to detour new members is to start asking for additionally "hidden fees" after paying for your premium, so to legally replace that, WP Spamshield is what you get.
3. If you don't plan on paying to use Akismet, then read on
"PS: You'll need an http://Akismet.com API key to use it. Keys are free for personal blogs; paid subscriptions are available for businesses and commercial sites." (source: https://wordpress.org/plugins/akismet/)
4. From the Akismet 3.1.4 changelog, in Sept 2015, they "Fixed a bug that was preventing some users from automatically connecting using Jetpack if they didn't have a current Akismet subscription"; kind of like that stomach bug you have when you call in sick for work, then your boss sees you at a baseball game a few hours later.
You've got a right to "nitpick", as one should. It'll raise questions that others may not have thought of. Every website is, or should be different; so on a site-by-site basis, it may not be an issue for you, but in regards to the WA community as a whole, it is an issue.
Best Regards and much love (passionate word so emphasize lowercase letters) to the WA community
Yeah, there are only "benefits" with us moving away from Akismet for us. The process of setting up an Akismet account and getting a key are confusing, there are prices associated with this program, and it doesn't work much of the time (I still was getting lots of spam through to my blog with Akismet installed).
On top of this, you would expect a company as progressive as Wordpress to start building functions like "comment spam protection" right into their platform, there is no reason for something like this to even be a plugin.
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Thank you for the heads up Kyle as well as recommending another plug-in to replace Akismet. Apparently that company, representative of many in the world today is suddenly after the big $$$$. Shame on them and perhaps after tens of thousands of customers delete their plug in from their websites, Akismet will get the picture.
I'm replacing mine right now! Again thanks,