For inquiring minds who want to know, here’s an exchange I had a while back with one such interested party who has valid concerns about blog spam. I replied with what I feel are the primary benefits of running our own installation of WordPress.
… any advice you could offer on running your own instance of WordPress rather than setting your blog up at xxx.wordpress.com … WordPress offers cautions about the potential problems with spambots posting to blogs, and note they have a variety of things in place to prevent this.
I’m wondering how much of a problem you folks have found this, and what provisions you may have had to take to secure your own blog against illegitimate postings and other intrusions?
My Reply: The “Akismet” anti-spam WordPress plugin that comes with a standard installation of WordPress catches the majority of spam comments received through our blogs. Periodically some will get through, but by configuring our blogs to require moderation of first-time comments, we can easily “spam” them without them ever appearing on the site.
We also use the WP-Deadbolt plugin which lets us blacklist specific domains from attempting to register for our blogs. This also greatly reduces the potential for comments from known spammers.
In all, spam is not an issue for us, and we have our four blogs running on our own WP installations. Management and moderation of spam must take us less than an hour a month.
The major difference between installing your own WordPress.org blog, and having a WordPress.com blog – aside from the custom domain issue – is flexibility. At xxx.wordpress.com, you cannot install plugins or customize the code behind your blog.
With your own installation you can hack away to your heart’s content and tweak the code to customize functionality and appearance however you see fit. This does however, require additional time and technical ability.
Here are just a few links that discuss the pros and cons in more detail. Hope this helps at last somebody out there!