My buddy Dries Buytaert (inventor of Drupal and co-founder of Acquia) and Benjamin Schrauwen have removed the beta label from their Mollom project. With the move, their startup is very much shaping up to be serious competition to Automattic’s Akismet, the current market leader.
Mollom automatically blocks comment form spam, contact form spam and fake user accounts using a filtering technique based on the combination of content analysis and CAPTCHA challenges. When new content is analyzed by Mollom’s intelligent text-analysis filter, and Mollom is unsure whether it is ham or spam, it asks the user to answer a CAPTCHA challenge. This challenge-response procedure doesn’t block human users. If an unwanted message still makes it onto a website, users can help fight back by reporting to Mollom. The service thus learns from its mistakes.
In the six months that the Belgium-based company has been beta-testing Mollom, they said to have blocked almost 9 million spam messages on thousands of sites. Still according to the company, the average efficiency rate of 99.77%, which translates into only 23 in 10,000 spam messages not being prevented by Mollom. In total, 76% of all messages processed by Mollom are spam, which basically means website spam is on its way to becoming as much of a problem as e-mail spam.
Now that the site has dropped its beta tag, the basic service – which is limited to 100 legitimate posts or comments it can process per day – remains free but gets company from a commercial product as well. Mollom Plus aims to provide protection against post and comment spam for about 1 euro per day, supporting a volume of 10,000 legitimate posts per day. Mollom Plus is backed-up by multiple Mollom servers in data centers around the world, so it is designed for the needs of large community sites, web businesses and enterprise sites. The company is also rolling out volume licensing for very large websites.