We thought we were royally screwed yesterday. Our website shut us out. We couldn't post comments, create new posts or access other back-end functionality that allows us to manage the site. We received messages that our website's spam filter had “caught” us and was trying to protect the website…from us, its creators! Being blocked from sites and functionality is nothing new for us (this is a common problem in Central Asia and China), but being shut out by our own site is.
We figured out a quick work-around. Unfortunately, we had to repeat it each time we turned on our laptops and acquired a new IP address. We began to panic and envisioned this barrier lasting throughout China. Maybe this was something the local internet cops had dreamed up? After all, China supposedly employs over 30,000 of them.
After recovering from our panic attack, we tried to determine how our IP addresses might have been blacklisted as originators of spam. Maybe it was that email we sent out the other day announcing our online store? We swore to ourselves never to use simple email for mass communication again.
After some research today, it appears that the Bad Behavior plugin was the culprit. [Sighs of relief.]
When you maintain a blog – as with anything in life these days – you will have to deal with spam. Sophisticated developers game the system by attempting to post automated comments to as many blogs as possible, thereby generating links back to their websites. To address this, we have applied a series of anti-spam plugins to our core installation of WordPress, including a very effective one cleverly named Bad Behavior.
Bad Behavior prevents automated comment spam generators from covering our posts with comments about the latest development in Viagra and how some young woman in Vladivostok is lonely tonight and seeking the man of her dreams – both of which (fortunately or unfortunately) have little to do with the content of our website.
If you are running a site that uses Bad Behavior version 2.0.10 or earlier and you are pulling your hair out, head on over and grab the new Bad Behavior version 2.0.11. This should solve the issue of Bad Behavior blocking you from your own site.
We are receiving a growing stream of questions regarding the nuts and bolts of the Uncornered Market website. In the next couple of weeks, we'll be releasing a series of articles that describes how we've built and maintained this site on the road.