Dealing with form spam

I remember when Spam was just a plain old meat product that we got for lunch every Wednesday at primary school. Back then it was really easy to deal with. You could eat it, hide it under your plate or pop it in your pocket and feed it to the pigeons at play time.

These days we spend more time dealing with the other kind of spam. It’s harder to get rid of than its tinned equivalent and once you put your email address on a web page or into the public domain then it’s fair game.

Form spam

Forms on websites can be a huge potential source of spam. Even in 2014 I see forms that don’t have any validation, leaving them open to abuse from spammers and even worse, hackers. Occasionally you can even find the form’s target email address trying to hide in the page code.

When it comes to securing forms and ensuring they validate properly I’m really not a big fan of Captcha solutions. They look ugly, I struggle to read the numbers and even when I try and use the accessibility function to read them out I occasionally miss one. I also feel that they put an extra barrier in the way of someone filling out your form and effectively make your spam issues someone else’s problem.

Akismet

When I created a contact form on my own site I decided to give Akismet a whirl. Akismet is a hosted service that detects and filters out comment and track-back spam. If your site is built on a content management system you can use it to block spam comments on your blog and also stop spam emails coming through your contact form.

Like all the best services Akismet just sits in the background doing its thing. You purchase a key, enter it into a field in your cms and then just forget about it. After six months of using it alongside the Perch Forms App I haven’t had a single piece of spam from my contact form.

If you’re spending a lot of time dealing with form spam I’d recommend you have a good look at Akismet and if you decide to use it and need some help installing it with Perch send me an email.