I have been running a large MediaWiki powered website for over three years now. In my opinion, the most important aspect about a wiki is that everyone can contribute with ease. That’s why when I set up the website, I wanted to make sure that anonymous users could contribute. This worked great for roughly a year, with an occasional spam message and some vandalism, but nothing that couldn’t be managed. I found that it was possible to keep the spam at bay with some basic tweaks ad plugins for MediaWiki. This system worked great until again roughly a year later. Suddenly a massive amount of SEO bots were flooding the website, posting an unmanageable amount of spam. It was very hard to find a good solution for this problem, even a commercial one, as MediaWiki isn’t that broadly supported, not like WordPress or Drupal for example. I ended up stumbling upon CleanTalk.
CleanTalk is an anti-spam service, which offers support for a great variety of platforms. In essence, they analyze the IP, origin, message, … of a user posting on your website and then determine whether or not that post should be successful. This is essentially what most services do I suppose, but CleanTalk does a great job at it. It is the best service I have used and generally stops 99.999% of all spam.
Is the service perfect? No, definitely not. Like any anti-spam service it will at some point run into issues, dealing with new generations of spambots. A while back (after about a year of CleanTalk), I had another influx of spam. A sudden massive spike. CleanTalk stopped a lot of the spam, with hundreds of spam posts daily, only about ten or twenty would get through. But that was still a lot to handle. I contacted the CleanTalk team and they went out of their way to solve the issue as quickly as possible. I can gladly say that I’m back at a comfortable 99.999% of effectiveness now. Not having seen a single spam message in quite some time. If you’re looking for a perfect anti-spam service, I doubt those exist as the threat constantly evolves, but CleanTalk really cares about providing the best possible service.
The CleanTalk website offers a very clean overview with analytics and a log of handles posts. False positives can easily be identified in this system allowing CleanTalk to improve their service even further. There is also a nice mobile application available which offers much of the same functionality as the website.
CleanTalk like many isn’t free. If you want an ok anti-spam service, you can try a free service, but generally you will only get really good anti-spam with a payed service. But I feel that CleanTalk offers their services at a very low cost. Full price it starts at $10/year for a single website, which is less than $0.03/day. The most high-end package for 40 websites goes as low as $5/year per website. Another very nice thing about CleanTalk is that you can get a free trial lasting two weeks. That’s generally enough time to properly test out the service. If you decide to get the service before the trial ends, you get an extra three months of service added to your account for free.
From personal experience I can say that CleanTalk is definitely a great service. It is not only very good, but it is affordable and comes with great support. I would definitely recommend giving the trial a go if you’re looking for an anti-spam service. While I’m writing this, it also seems that CleanTalk is offering a 20% discount on all of their plans, so it’s a great moment to check them out.
2 thoughts on “CleanTalk anti-spam service”
Do you know if Cleantalk works with Discourse discussion forum or static sites like Jekyll? I recently switched from WordPress to Jekyll and wonder if I can use Cleantalk with that site or with my soon-to-be-built Discourse forums server.
I’m not sure, you might have to write a custom plugin.