alex sysoef

How I Got Myself Blacklisted On My Own Blog

Last night, just as always I decided to login into my blog and do some posting, thinking, editing … you know the normal stuff any blogger does just to be greeted by a note:

Error 403

We’re sorry but we could not fulfill your request…

Your Internet Protocol address is listed on a blacklist of addresses involved in malicious or illegal activity. See the listing below for more details on specific blacklists and removal procedures…

Being a “known spamer” who constantly engages in “illegal activities” using my blog I was mildly surprised and decided to investigate…

I have checked every blacklisting service known on the internet and was unable to find either my IP or my website IP listed in any database. Any attempts to login from different computer that was connected through corporate VPN resulted in same 403 Error, which led me to believe that perhaps I’m not as bad as I think of myself …

Since this error only impacted only one blog located on the host I figured it was not a problem introduced by my host and all I have to do is find what is different on this blog from all others and address the issue so I could get on with annoying you by posting.

My blog uses 2 spam fighting plugins: Spam Karma 2 and Bad Behavior. In attempt to resolve the issue I emptied the blacklist tables in database but problem persisted. Being pissed off beyond reasonable at this point I went for drastic measures …

  • I have renamed folders within wp-content/plugins directories for the 2 spam plugins and was instantly able to get into my blog! BTW, this solution – renaming a plugin folder or plugin file is always works as solution when that plugin screws you so badly that you are unable to get into admin area. Simply rename it – and it becomes effectively disabled!

Now I narrowed the problem down to the plugins and I decided to do a research by visiting blogs of the authors. No indication of any solution at that point (do remember it was December 5th night). At this point all I had left with was an attempt to identify which of the two plugins was responsible for the problem. Enabling them one at the time and testing showed that Bad Behavior was responsible for the issue.

As it currently stand this issue wasn’t just my problem. More and more bloggers report this and author was quick to respond and created a new version to fix the issue. Here is his explanation on what happened:

Update: Some people have asked for more details on what exactly happened. In brief, yesterday I moved all of my sites to a new dedicated server. In the process, I decommissioned an old blacklist I was running which I thought wasn’t being used, not realizing that Bad Behavior was still set to use it. Shortly afterward, I found myself locked out of my own blog, just as you all did. So therefore, this release.

If you are using Bad Behavior plugin download the new version and install it ASAP to prevent being locked out and continue with your “illegal activities” such as blogging and thinking and communicating…

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13 Responses to “How I Got Myself Blacklisted On My Own Blog”

  1. David says:

    Very interesting, sounds like bad behavior had a little bad behavior. Definately worth a spin and stumble 🙂

    David’s last blog post..Profitable Treadmill Niche Shows Great Potential

  2. Kheng Hong says:

    Lucky i was not using it but would it be fare to use others plugin instead of bad behavior?

    • TheSpot-er says:

      Well, I haven’t found a combination that works better then two plugins i mention above and after I implemented the fix (new version) everything is back in business.

      Just had to spend some time on troubleshooting it …


  3. Well, you weren’t really blacklisted, Bad Behavior was just confused. I try to fix serious problems like this as quickly as I can.

    Michael Hampton’s last blog post..TSA can’t find real bombs either

    • TheSpot-er says:

      Thank Michael,

      I got that part figured when I checked every blacklist database but remember at that point your post with fix wasn’t published yet 🙂 It was only next morning that I seen the update and thank you so much for coming up with fix so quickly! Nice to see that I use plugin so well supported …


  4. Kristine says:

    Hi Alex,
    I’m new to your blog and so far LOVE the information you have here. Looking forward to reading more!

    You may be interested to know that well-known copywriter Michel Fortin had this same issue with the Bad Behavior plug-in which you may already know about.

    Here’s his experience from his blog:

    • TheSpot-er says:

      Thanks Kristine,

      Yes, this plugin seem to start behaving badly…. I had to disable it right now due to another issue discovered – for some reason it prevent submission of the posts to Digg … go figure.

      • Alan Howells says:

        So where to now then Alex?

        I’ve just downloaded the latest version of the “Bad Behaviour” plugin as I thought this would be a much needed tool in the fight against robot spamming.

        What are your thoughts now that you have hit this latest snag with the plugin?

        As a new blogger myself, would you say that it is best not to install this particular plugin at this time due the problems that you yourself have experienced to date?

        Any forthcoming advice on this would be greatly appreciated, because as I see it, any plugin that helps to fight spam must be worth a consideration.


        Alan H.

        • TheSpot-er says:


          I had to remove the plugin completely. I don’t remember exactly but I have run into some other issues related to that plugin and was able to confirm it was the source. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to troubleshoot so I just removed it. Twice is too much for me. Great idea but I need something that works reliably.


  5. Alan Howells says:

    Thanks for that Alex

    At least I know not to install for now. Now deleted!! I’m fast running short of room on the old hard disc, and the last thing I want to do is clutter it up even more.

    By the way Alex, I like the spam protection thing “total sum of” you’ve got running within your reply to comments resource.

    Is this feature integrated into your last Web 2.0 theme?

    The reason I ask is, I’m just in the process of configuring the latest Web.20 theme, and it looks a handy piece of script to help fight off the robot spammers.

    Take care!

    Alan H.

    Alan Howells’s last blog post..Welcome

    • TheSpot-er says:


      No, that plugin is not provided with the theme. It is something I’m testing and I think I have shared it under additional training but not 100% sure. It does require that you edit the theme to hard code the input.


  6. Alan Howells says:


    I’ll keep my eyes peeled for any updates on this one in the additional training section.

    Right… It’s back to it! Hoping to complete all advanced configuration tasks before I hit the pillow. It’s now 2.30 am here in “Ol Blighty” ( U K ) , and I plan to give myself another hour before I call it a day.

    All the best!

    Alan H.

    Alan Howells’s last blog post..Welcome