Akismet…Ouch! for WPMu

Patrick just informed me the great Spam Karma 2 plugin is no longer being maintained by the developer (something I should have know, but may have purposefully blocked), and a quick search for the developer’s blog (Unknown Genius) may very well confirm this given it is no longer available. So, being reluctantly forward-thinking I took a look on the WPMu forums to see what the skinny is with Akismet for WPMu. And what I saw wasn’t not so encouraging necessarily all that bad in the end. [Damn this post got away from me :)]

Update: I believe UMW is officially a non-profit organization, so it may very well qualify for a half-price educational discount or the free option with some linkback love.

Here is the price per month with the educational discount:
Akismet (Educational Discount)

Given the cost is currently far greater than what it costs to actually host the UMW Blogs installation, and there are 1000+ blogs on the system already — what is a small, broke school to do? (My first day back and I’m already at it 🙂 ) In fact, this may be overstated a bit for if a university wants to invest in a blogging platform, a solid spam solution would have to be top priority, and $8,000+ $4,000+ (depending on the plus) may not necessarily be breaking the bank for many institutions. Yet, it highlights an interesting cost of openness. Also, what is a smaller, non-institutional WPMu community with many blogs that doesn’t make money supposed to do? Well, perhaps a return to the small blogs loosely joined with RSS approach?

Does eduCampus have an Akismet license for it subscribers? — or is that a separate, additional $8,000 $4,000? Does an undeveloped Spam Karma 2 still far outweigh the cost/benefits of an enterprise Akismet installation? I don’t know? What are other people using who have a large, vibrant WPMu community that affords the option to leave comments open, and which doesn’t result in spam suicide?

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12 Responses to Akismet…Ouch! for WPMu

  1. Reverend says:

    Man, I had to edit the hell out of this post! I really shouldn’t blog so spontaneously, it doesn’t always mesh so well with things like facts and truths 🙂

  2. Andrea says:

    matt said soemwhere if you have a small MU site and you just ask, they might give you a pass.

    SK2 was modded for MU, but then the developer didn’t want those files shared. (?) I did use it for a while though.

    I switched over the Farms’ comment spam pack, which is a lightly modded bundle of 3 and it seems to do quite well except for content scrapers. (trackback spam)

  3. Reverend says:


    That’s right, I have seen the Farms’ Comment Spam pack, but being comfortable with SK2 I never really looked into it, very cool. And it looks like Matt and company will throw non-profits and educational institutions a break. And, apparently, if you include links back to Akismet and WordPress.com than it might not cost anything, which is encouraging. So in the end, I guess I’m not really discouraged, I guess when you host a site for less than it might cost to control spam (at least at first sight) it can be a bit jarring.

    We currently use SK2, which I think works well, but its imepnding obsolescence. And we don’t use the WPMu modified version, just straight installs for each and every blog that they install and configure. I imagine the same could be done with Akismet, but the fact that they need another account, and have to trace the API key might get tricky.

  4. Andrea says:

    I found eventually on our system, SK2 confused a lot of users and occasionally spiked memory. Especially when the server got pounded with spam. 🙂

    Ideally, on an MU system, I’d like to see a centralized spam mangement system with a truly global blacklist, full tweaking ability for the site admins and minimal controls for the users.

    But I’ve got my hubby busy enough already. 😀

  5. Joe says:

    This is really bad news–I’ve had absolutely perfect performance from SK2 for so long, and the exact opposite from akismet. Akismet worked so badly for me that I wouldn’t even use it for free at this point, and if they want to charge, I’m certainly not willing to pay.

    I’ll stick with an undeveloped SK2 as long as I can, while looking for other solutions.

  6. Reverend says:


    You and your hubby make quite a team. I got the invaluable tutorial for mapping domains to WPMu from him, and you are a forums guru. You may be the best known WPMu match made in heaven 🙂


    I had issues with Akismet when I tried it, but that was almost two years ago now. I really have no recent experience, so to hear that you are still having issues with it is a bit of a concern. I hope another solution does pop up soon.

  7. Shannon says:

    I use Akismet on my Loaded Learning blog and I find that it is actually very good at catching spam. I would rate it at the same level or even higher than SK2, but that has just been my experience.

  8. Martha says:

    I’ve been using Akismet for a while on my blog and I’m also really happy with it. I never have spam get through the way that I see on blogs of folks whom I know are running SK2. Partly, that probably because my blog isn’t targeted as much as some of those folks cause it doesn’t have as large a readership. 🙂

    What I do see is more comments that I need to go in and manually moderate in Akismet, and since the user doesn’t really have any means to change the settings, there’s not much I can do about that. It’s not a huge deal for me because I’m not dealing with a huge volume of comments but even I have missed comments for weeks or months in moderation.

    I also had one visitor (someone whom I actually know in “real life”) whose comments were ALWAYS marked as spam by Akismet no matter how many times I approved her. There was something about her provider or email address that was blacklisting her centrally at Akismet. And, again, since I have no control over the blacklist there was no easy way me for fix it.

    I did see a thread (on Twitter?) recently where D’Arcy ran into a similar problem and submitted some kind of request directly to Akismet and they took care of it fairly quickly. But that’s definitely not an ideal way to manage changes to the blacklist.

    Meanwhile, tell me more about this “Free” option. . .:-)

  9. John says:

    We’re currently experimenting with Defensio (defensio.com). We qualify for the free license (which is based on spam count) and the developers have been quick to address one issue we had (moving the controls out of the ‘plugins’ tab, which we have disabled on our mu install). We’re too new to attract enough spam for proving, but so far it seems just what the doctor ordered.

  10. michelle says:

    We use Akismet and it’s great. Harvard blogs has the linkbacks on every page, so I assume they are doing it free, too.

  11. SharkGirl says:

    I installed Askimet on MU, and I’m only running two blogs at the moment, one of which doesn’t have a key installed yet.

    It was running fine until last night. I went to empty the Askimet spam, but it kept flipping the screen all over from top to bottom, and it wouldn’t stop.

    Now, the plugin isn’t even showing up in my list so I can deactivate it.

    However, after seeing the cost of Askimet, I don’t plan to continue with it. I’m opening my blog up to pro se litigants and none of us can afford that kind of price. That’s almost as bad as lawyer fees! LOL

  12. Pen 2 Net says:

    What I did on my WPMU Installation

    -Installed plugin commander in the mu-plugins directory
    -Downloaded Akismet, edited the akismet.php file and added my wordpress.com license to it.
    -Installed the Akismet plugin like as a regular plugin (in plugins directory)
    -Activated the Akismet plugin sitewide and set as active for future blogs using plugin commander.


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