GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin

NOTE: If you start getting spam, change the “secret key” to any really long set of random letters and numbers (no special characters) and save it. Each time you change it the hackers have to start trying to break in again. It can take them hours to days to do that.  You can change this as often as necessary to keep them out. 

Stop Spam stop sign on top of other stop spam stop signs


For support or questions please contact Gail at GrowMap not Andy!

We are absolutely thrilled and relieved that our spam problems are over. We went from 1000+ spam comments a day to not a single automated spam comment at all. Logging in to see only 12-50 real comments left by real people who have no problems commenting any more is a joy.

Download GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin (G.A.S.P.) now.

With the custom GrowMap anti-spambot plugin Andy Bailey from CommentLuv wrote based on an idea from Phil Hollows of FeedBlitz and improved by a suggestion from Dazzlin Donna Fontenot you can too!


UPDATE: I finally had to turn off pingbacks and trackbacks in
both WordPress under discussions and in CommentLuv Premium.
If you use the free version, turn them off in GASP.
Doing this will block many more automated comments.

NEW: If you suddenly get an influx of spam and trackback spam
while using GASP and Simple Trackback Validation
for errors in the STV plugin or delete, re-upload & reintall it.
Spammers have found a way to hack that plugin.

This plugin plus a trackback blocker and the blacklist function
built into WordPress provides a complete anti-spam solution.

GASP is built into CommentLuv Premium.

The plugin is already installed in all of our blogs plus all of Murray Newland‘s blogs, at Influence People and in dozens of our closest collaborators’ blogs too. The blogs range from WordPress 2.9.1 to 3.0.1 and we have run into no conflicts or problems installing it or running it in any blog so far.

If you are using our plugin please visit the GrowMap Anti-Spam WordPress plugin page and indicate that it works so that bloggers who do not know us will know to trust it. Thank you.

This plugin would not exist if it were not for the tenacity of the fine folks at Linda Christas College who kept explaining why how we are allowing our commentators to be treated was rude and especially bad for business blogs.

I am embarrassed to admit that even I did not clearly understand for too long, but once I did I found they were absolutely correct. We simply can not allow our readers and commentators to be sent to a blank white page, have their comments immediately deleted before we even see them, or to not receive a message that their comment is being moderated.

The plugin blocks BOTS not human spammers. If you have a problem with comments that look like comments but are actually trackback spam see Justin Germino’s post about the plugin we’re all using to block trackback spam.

Manually created spam can be blocked by WordPress by adding the url, email address or words to the blacklist function built into WordPress. Log into WordPress and go to Settings > Discussion > Comment Blacklist and type or paste what you want to blacklist into that box.

Comments captured by the blacklist go to the spam section of your comments.

NOTE: “When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be marked as spam. One word or IP per line. It will match inside words, so “press” will match “WordPress”.”

Be careful not to block comments containing words that have parts of other words within them and do check your spam folder and rescue good comments. If you realize you’re blocking a word you can edit the blacklist.

1) NOTE: Be sure to read the readme file about installing the plugin. You will NOT see the check box if you are logged in. Additional details:

The checkbox only appears for logged out users.
If you’re logged out, it only shows if you have javascript enabled.
If you are logged out and have javascript enabled and it is still not showing then you need to have the comment form action active in your comments.php theme file
` do_action(‘comment_form’,$post->ID); `

2) Why Use the GrowMap Anti-Spambot Plugin?

  1. No false positives – your favorite commentators and new readers WILL be able to easily comment in your blog.
  2. Blocks spam that Akismet was letting through. We are getting ZERO bot spam. Only those commenting manually who check the “I am not a spammer box” can leave comments.
  3. Easier for commentators than using a Captcha or math plugin – never a “wrong” answer that isn’t wrong or a problem with cookies!

3) Do other bloggers use and recommend G.A.S.P.?

  • See the GrowMap Anti-SpamBot Testimonials – collected from the comments left in the official WordPress plugin repository.
  • Reviews of GrowMap Anti-SpamBot Plugin on other blogs (There are so many that it will take time for me to compile them all. Coming as soon as time allows.)

4) What if my readers and commentators do not have JavaScript enabled?

  • While most Internet users today DO have Javascript enabled, there is a GASP PHP version created by Doug Neubauer that can be coded into your blog if you have technical skills.

5) What if I want to move the position of the Check Box??

  • The checkbox will appear wherever the do_action(‘comment_form’,$post->ID); command in their themes comments.php . It is that command that tells WordPress plugins that the comment form is being rendered to the page and any plugins that want to add something to the form should do it now. If they want to move it, they need to edit their comments.php file and move that command (it should not be outside the <form> </form> tags and needs to be enclosed in <?php ?> tags if it isn’t already part of some php block)

6) Why Not Just Use Akismet?

  1. Large numbers of bloggers and regular commentators who never spam have been flagged by Akismet as spammers.
  2. Any commentator who has been flagged as a spammer is treated rudely by your blog. They never see the message your comment is being moderated so they have no way of knowing what happened to their comment.
  3. If you have a particular box checked in the Akismet configuration, comments left for real people who have been flagged incorrectly as commentators in posts more than 30 days old are immediately deleted and they see a blank white page. See how to turn off Akismet Comment deletion.
  4. Read the many other posts and hundreds of comments related to problems with Akismet.

7) Why We Stopped Using Captchas and the Math Plugin:

  1. Even when your commentators enter the captcha or math solution correctly they are sometimes told they have entered it incorrectly.
  2. We had three complaints from regular commentators who are experienced bloggers within 48 hours of testing. If they don’t know that deleting cookies will probably resolve the problems of incorrect answers neither will your ordinary readers.
  3. They can be difficult for older people and those with poor vision to read.

8) Why We Don’t Recommend Using Bad Behavior:

We tested the Bad Behavior plugin and it behaved very badly, locking all three admins out of this blog. Even after using ftp to remove the plugin we were unable to log in. It took input from five top collaborators with very advanced WordPress skills to find and remove all the files necessary to recover from that test. Most bloggers do not know that many WP experts who have that kind of skills. Some have had to resort to reloading their blogs to recover.

Special thanks to Sammy Russo of  Search Friendly Web Design, Derek Semmler of  Team Thesis, Imran Yousaf of Blogging Junkie who loves optimizing blog load times, Donna Fontenot known for her eBusiness Coaching and Andrew Rondeau who writes about how to make a blog for their assistance at recovering from that test and also for testing this new plugin.

Thanks to all the bloggers who have commented on using G.A.S.P. and are promoting it in their own blogs.


There is a changelog section in the WordPress page for every plugin that indicates what changes with each version. The original version worked fine; however, there have been significant improvements since then:

  • 0.4 added the warning suggested by Dazzlin Donna Fontenot that pops up a message if you forget to check the box. That eliminated the problem of possibly losing your comment if you forget.
  • 1.01 resolved a problem that the plugin did not work with some custom Themes (identified by Dragonblogger).
  • Before 1.02 the plugin blocked trackbacks and pingbacks. Ileane noticed that and asked that they be unblocked.
  • Some bloggers including Dragonblogger are plagued by spam trackbacks / pingbacks so he did not like the 1.02 change. In response, Andy created 1.04 which allows each blogger to either block or allow all trackbacks and pingbacks. Dragonblogger suggests using another plugin to filter those if you have a problem with pingback or trackback spam.

Thanks also to all of our other collaborators who assisted in testing and these bloggers who are using this plugin:

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.

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