WordPress Plugin: GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin Review

WordPress Plugin: GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin Review

I have been using the GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin (GASP) plugin for a few weeks now, so I decided to write a review about the plugin. Most blog owners have issues with spam comments on their posts. It is a fact of life when owning a blog – you will eventually start receiving spam comments. While it is annoying to receive the spam, there are many plugins available that can help rid your blog of this nuisance.

I have tried many plugins to reduce, and eliminate the spam I get on Technically Easy, and a few weeks ago I switched to GASP. The process GASP uses to stop spam seems like such a simple concept, but then again, sometimes the simple concepts tend to work the best.

The GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin

Stop Spam

I had recently wrote a post where I outlined the 3 plugins I use to stop spam, where I first learned about the GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin from Ileane at Basic Blog Tips. I am always curious to test out some plugins that people have used and liked, so I decided to try out GASP.

I installed the plugin and then disabled both Akismet and the Conditional Captcha plugin. The fact that I am able to disable two plugins is great, since having too many plugins loaded can slow down a blog.

After testing out the GASP plugin for a few weeks, I can honestly say that it works, and I do mean works. I have had zero, zilch, nada, nothing, not a single spam comment within those few weeks. The best part is that without Akismet running, I haven’t had valid comments moved to my spam folder automatically.

How does GASP work? Let’s take a look.

GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin – The Simple Way to Stop Spam

Andy Bailey from CommentLuv fame is the one who wrote the GrowMap Anti-Spambot plugin. GASP works by requiring those that wish to leave a comment, to check a checkbox before submitting the comment. Just a simple checkbox and no hard-to-read captcha required. If the checkbox isn’t checked, the comment isn’t saved.

Growmap Anti-Spambot Plugin - Comment Checkbox

Growmap Anti-Spambot Plugin - Comment Checkbox
(Click to enlarge)

There is also another trick to help stop spam. Since many of the spam comments are created by bots, the bots are usually programmed to fill in all the fields on a form with specific information. The GASP plugin creates a hidden field that can’t be seen by normal visitors. A bot, however can see the hidden field. The bot will then fill in the hidden field, which indicates that a bot is writing the comment. Since the field is filled in, the comment is flagged as spam and discarded.

The only downside is that the visitor needs to have Javascript enabled in their browser. Since many websites use Javascript, most visitors tend to have Javascript enabled by default.

I highly recommend you install this plugin. While the GrowMap Anti-Spambot plugin uses such simple ideas to stop spam, it has been very effective at completely preventing spam comments from my blog.

28 Responses to “WordPress Plugin: GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin Review”

  1. GD says:

    But you yourself are not even using the GASP checkbox?

    I can’t seem to get it to move where I want it and am about to give up.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Hi GD, I stopped using GASP at the moment to see how my spam is without an additional plugin. As for getting the checkbox to where you want it, try using Firebug if you are using Firefox and edit the CSS code to try and place it. Then copy that same CSS code into the stylesheets for your theme.

  2. steve says:

    Very interesting how all this works, I am not a blog owner myself but find it fascinating how people develop these programs to be one step ahead of the spammers. How does a spam bot work?

  3. James Dinbar says:

    Have to say great plugin. Worked really well, was using Akismet but made the switch to this and it worked like a charm.

  4. Peter says:

    Since I installed GASP, I have to say my email notifications seem to have gone on vacation. Bot a single spammy message received in these past few months so it clearly speaks for itself. This is a must plugin for anyone with a blog.

  5. Lacy Scruggs says:

    GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin sounds really helpful for the site owners. Well, it’s really important to even stop the simplest form of unethical online attitute

  6. Hm.. This is a very nice info. But I’m wondering which one is better, this, or the Akismet.

  7. Sophia says:

    Recently, I have read about Growmap Anti-spam Plug-in (GASP) and most of their experiences in using this, that it really works to prevent spam comments. I came to a point i might to use it also but actually I didn’t matter about spam comments because I’m an open minded person and I realize many spam comments are spreading nowadays and i have to get rid out of it.. Well, anyway yhanks for this informative post!

    • Paul Salmon says:

      Spam on my blog got out of hand and Akismet just wasn’t doing the best job anymore. G.A.S.P. can’t stop manually entered spam, but it is great against spam bots.

  8. Jarret says:

    I finally got around to trying this plugin. I left akismet on, so I’m not really sure if it’s doing much. I still have a ton of comments ending up in my spam comment box. It’s not really much different, so I’m not sure why.

    My Akismet stats went from 104-174 spams per day (with bad behavior) to 1400 spams the following day with akismet and gasp. Am I doing something wrong or is this plugin not working as well in 2011?

    • Paul Salmon says:

      I checked your blog and the G.A.S.P checkbox is showing on your comments form. I’m not sure why you are getting more spam now than before installing the plugin. I get a few spam comments, but they aren’t the automated variety. You should choose the spam plugin that works best for you.

  9. raymund says:

    I also installed the plugin and will see if it is effective.

  10. Sonia says:

    You’re right! it does work nicely. 🙂

  11. Hey Paul, thanks for useful info. I’ll try this plugin soon. I’m curious how it works. 🙂

  12. Gail Gardner says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for writing this kind review of our new plugin. Andy probably got tired of hearing me complain and Phil from FeedBlitz encouraging him to fix the spam problem and now we can all benefit.

    There are a couple of things users may want to know:

    1) It only stops spambot spam. Real humans capable of checking the box can still copy/paste spam but at least they don’t leave hundreds at a time. If they make an effort that falls short I sometimes approve their comment and share with them why what they are doing is spam and what they should do instead. If that doesn’t work of the comment is a bunch of links or objectionable just delete it and then use the blacklist found in the discussion area of WordPress to block future comments from the domain and/or email addresses they’re using. Be careful of blocking IP addresses as many spammers conceal their true IP addresses or do not have the same IP (static IP) so you’ll be blocking other innocent readers too.

    2) The lastest version of the plugin allows bloggers to decide whether they want to receive or block all trackbacks/pingbacks. Ileane wanted to receive hers and Dragonblogger needed to block them because his blog is hit by trackback/pingback spammers. He now uses another plugin to selectively block those.

    Each time the plugin is updated the “it works” flag in the WordPress plugin directory gets reset. If bloggers would visit the page (direct link at the top of the page I’ll put in CommentLuv in this comment) and click “it works” more bloggers who don’t know us will know it is safe to try. Thank you in advance to anyone who will do that.

    • Paul Salmon says:

      No problem, Gail.

      I’m not sure if there is a true way of stopping human spammers as it is can be impossible to weed out the spam at times. The best way to do that would be to review each comment. For the most part, however, the spam seems to mostly come from bots.

      As for trackbacks, I don’t usually decide if I should keep it or delete it. I like that choice as the trackbacks can be spammy or legitimate.

      • Gail Gardner says:

        Hi Paul,

        There is no clear definition of spam comments but is vastly easier to moderate only the human comments once this plugin eliminates all the spambot junk. If a human spammer at least made an effort to write an original comment I sometimes share with them why their comments are spammy.

        I don’t get much trackback spam but that can be a problem on sites that have products. The new version is the perfect solution because now all bloggers have the choice of what to do with them.

        • Paul Salmon says:

          As long as the plugin eliminates the bot spam, then I can easily moderate the human spam comments.

          I don’t get much trackback spam myself, but I do remove the trackbacks to point to sites that aren’t really useful, such as a collection of posts from other blogs.

        • Chloe Taylor says:

          GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plug-in is really amazing, I’ve been using in a couple of months ago and it really do good actually. It is good to fight against the spammers. So far for me it really do good.

  13. Patricia says:

    Great review of a plugin that seems to be sorting the problem of spam. Need to seriously look at this. As my blog gets more traffic and more comments, so the spam count goes up. Thanks for sharing with us.

  14. Patricia says:

    The more visitors I get who comment the more the increase in spam so I will be looking seriously at this plugin. Thanks for the informative review post.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  15. Dana says:

    So, this is the plugin that produce the simple confirmation in below comment form. Thanks for the info, I my self have really hard time to fight the spam on my site.

  16. Hey Paul, nice to meet you! I was using a free WordPress blog until just recently when I upgraded to a self-hosted blog. I saw a drastic decrease in spam when I installed GASP. That’s one of the best things about upgrading so far! I’m really pleased with it.

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