Two years

Wow, my two year anniversary at Automattic just passed, and I didn’t even notice, someone had to point it out to me. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and I hope it doesn’t end anytime soon.

I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside¬†some of the smartest people in the industry from all across the globe.¬†It’s both comforting and rewarding to think back on my time, about things I’ve worked on have had an impact on the WordPress community and the web in general, and that the people I’ve crossed paths with have benefited from that interaction- at least that’s my hope. Unless they were a spammer, then all bets are off.. ūüôā

So I guess it’s true what they say, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Spamming for profit

I never wanted to spam the Internet. Google made me do it.
This is what I told myself back then.
If spamming is so wrong, I wondered, how come it always works so well?

A long read, but a good read. Jeff Deutsch explains how starting in 2009 he was able to work only a few hours daily and still rake in a $50,000 a month in profit, by becoming a professional spammer.

It’s a pretty interesting perspective piece, since I spend my days and nights on the other side of the fence working on Akismet, which combats spam on millions upon millions of sites, including all of WordPress.com.

So, without further ado: Confessions of a Google spammer

"Elation is a WIFI Building"

The Akismet team is staying at the¬†Sandestin¬†Golf and Beach Resort¬†in sunny Destin Florida for our January “Get the hell out of the cold” meetup (which, by the way, isn’t quite living up to the name). This sign was tacked up on the ground floor of the resort we’ve decided to call home for a week:

IMG_5439

The internet¬†is always very important when selecting a venue for our retreats, without a rock solid connection there’s not much we can do in the way of projects and regular work. The “Elation” building does indeed have wireless internet access, provided by Cox, so I decided to run some tests in the dead of night (and off season) to see how they compared to my trusty Verizon MiFi on LTE. The results were a little surprising.

Results from the Cox (Elation provided) internet access:

4050220047-cox

And the results from my Verizon MiFi access point on their cellular LTE data network:

4050222036-verizon-mifi-lte

Verizon wins this round, doubling both upload and download speeds over Cox. Not that 14/3 is bad, but I can only imagine the slowdowns during the busy seasons. Obviously LTE is going to be more expensive in the long run, but I found it odd that a wired transit provider would be slower than a cellular service.

Don’t get me wrong though, back home I use Cox and they’re as reliable as can be, with 100Mbps download speeds and 30Mbps upload. They’re the fastest available in my area, and I’ve had virtually no issues with them at all.

Swag is contagious: Akismet badges :)

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.15.54 PMA¬†play on the NYPD detective badges, and a little on the pricey side for small scale swag (we’re not really a large¬†team) – but I’m seriously considering looking into this. We just broke a record of 500 Million spam comments caught in a single day, perhaps I’ll commission and¬†send these out to the team when we hit a Billion daily. Shouldn’t be too long at the rate we’re going. Side note: TSA will¬†love seeing these in¬†carry on luggage.

A (redacted) day in the life on the Akismet team

Many of my colleagues have recently posted about their workdays, which you can follow here. This inspired me to share a little about my days, and what I work on.

So, as many of you know, I work on the Akismet team at Automattic. We battle spam across all of WordPress.com, countless self-hosted WordPress sites, and quite a few other major comment platforms such as¬†Disqus.¬†¬†Below, I’ve outlined what I work on from day to day.
Aclu-v-ashcroft-redacted

As much as I’d like to be more forthcoming, all I can say is that we eat, breathe and sleep¬†spam. Akismet is a little different from the rest of the company, in that we’re not quite as transparent, and for good reason. Spam is an ever-evolving thing, an epic battle between good and evil. As they adapt, so should we, but not at the expense of exposing¬†how we actually get things done.

So, that’s my day in and day out. For things that we can share, check out the Moderation Queue blog.

Cheers.