For those of you who use WordPress, you're probably used to using Akismet for your spam blocking needs. While I've found it to be a useful way to block the torrents of comment spam I get on a daily basis, it certainly isn't perfect. The problem is, aside from simply tagging comments as spam, there really isn't any way you can customise or fine tune Akismet to block the specific types of spam you receive.
ASIDE: For some reason, my blog elicits spam that advertises suspect banking services and pharmaceuticals. Spammers apparently think I’m a terribly depressed person who needs contraception and a bulletproof offshore bank account to store my millions of dollars of embezzled funds. Hey, one out of three isn’t bad I guess!
Enter the TanTanNoodles Simple Spam Filter. This tiny plugin does two critical things that Akismet doesn't: blocking comments with multiple links which spammers universally use to pedal their advertisements, and defining keyword filters. In this way the Simple Spam Filter doesn't replace Akismet, it complements it by taking care of obvious spam messages before Akismet even has to deal with it.
While blocking comments with multiple links is useful, it's the flexible keyword filter that's the killer feature. On the simple, easy to understand configuration screen you're presented with a text box to add keywords to, along with a list of suggested keywords from messages currently in your spam queue. You can add them to your custom filter by simply clicking them, too easy!
Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam…
One final whipped cream feature which tops off the simple chocolate fudgy goodness of a plugin is the ability to present a user with a reCAPTCHA if someone is suspected of submitting a spam comment. I haven't enabled it myself because the keywords I've assigned it to filter wouldn't be ones that a person who's comments I approve of would use, but the fact it's there is very compelling.
Since installing this plugin on Saturday (two days ago now) it has automatically rejected 1913 comments, more than Akismet ever did. I've also had no spam comments make their way to my legitimate comment moderation queue which when working by itself Akismet let slip quite regularly.
I'm completely sold. If you're using WordPress and only intend on using one other plugin other than Akismet, make it this one.