Eating our own dog food

Somewhat an unappetizing but often used phrase within a lot of development communities, here at WPeBooks we’re fans of eating our own dog food too.

In short, this means we use the products we develop. WPeBooks is just one of our properties; we also run a successful network install offering free blogs for homeschoolers.

As anyone who has used multisite to host blogs for others has realized, it can quickly become a target for spammers signing up for hundreds of blogs, auto-posting thousands of posts. Cleaning it up can be messy, laborious and painfully boring. Stopping them can be akin to sticking your finger in a crack in a dam.

So one of the things we did on Homeschooljournal.net was install the Custom Registration plugin, creating a special custom signup page off the main site. Nothing fancy. This was in late July.

After a month or so, we checked the stats for August.

13 splogs had signed themselves up manually using the new form, in addition to a number of legitimate new users. Using the snack bar plugin and monitoring the sitewide feed, I was able to quickly mark them as spam as soon as I found them.

When Ron checked the access logs, however, we were amazed.

Approximately 750 spam blog signup attempts were made. In August. And blocked.

It’s hard to determine a legitimate signup from a spammer sitting there filling out the form manually, so we’ve come up with something that may work and over the next month or so we’ll be testing that out. We’ll be sure to keep you posted.