Fifty million spam attempts blocked

A day or so ago, Mollom blocked its fifty-millionth spam attempt, reaching another milestone in a list that is expanding with increasing frequency. After all, it was only a little over two months ago (on January 28th) that we reached twenty-five million, about six months ago (on October 6th) that we reached ten million, and about a year ago (on March 31, 2008) that Benjamin and I began Mollom.

According to our scorecard, we're currently protecting over 7,000 websites from comment spam, with an average efficiency of 99.95%. Only 5 in every 10,000 spam messages slip past our filters, and even that small number continues to fall as Mollom's accuracy improves. Around 85% of all the messages processed by Mollom are spam.

Even though we're still a small company by all standards, we're proud of what we've done to help stem the spread of comment spam. The Mollom download page features plugins for five different CMS's (including Drupal, Joomla!, WordPress, Radiant, and SilverStripe), and seven different developer libraries (including Java, PHP5, Ruby, Python, ColdFusion, .NET, and the Zend Framework). Our pricing page describes our current product offerings, and our exciting new Software Partners page describes a few special partnerships we've formed to help supercharge your Mollom experience.

Fifty million is a big number, but we're just getting started. More to come!

Weblog Tools Collection reviews Mollom for Wordpress

Weblog Tools Collection reviewed the Mollom plugin for WordPress maintained by Matthias Vandermaesen. From the review:

Mollom works much like Akismet: comments are sent to a central server which uses intelligent, self-learning algorithms to determine wether or not a comment is spam or not. Spam-classification isn’t a binary process and as a result, common anti-spam services perform bad when handling false positives. Mollom takes care of this. If it can’t clearly classify a comment, it will present the commenter with a secure CAPTCHA test instead of dumping the comment on an ever-increasing moderation queue that needs frequent attention. Mollom is a centralized service which can identify spammers across the network of websites who use Mollom. When a single spam-source is identified on one or more sites, the whole network will be protected against spam from that source

Testers needed for SilverStripe 2.3.1 RC

The good folks at SilverStripe have announced a release candidate for version 2.3.1 of their open-source CMS. The upcoming release of SilverStripe includes native support for Mollom, providing an out-of-the-box solution for preventing website spam on SilverStripe sites.

The Mollom implementation protects page and blog comments, user registrations, forum posts, and custom PHP forms using a special field type. The SilverStripe Mollom installation instructions provide additional information on how to install and use Mollom with your installation of the release candidate. The installation instructions also show some screenshots of Mollom in action.

If you're a SilverStripe user, take the release candidate for a test drive and file any bugs you encounter at open.silverstripe.com.

Young Writers Project thinks Mollom is extraordinary

One of the best things about Mollom is the great feedback I get from our users. One example is this e-mail I received with the subject line of "Our experience with Mollom -- extraordinary". After a conversation with the author, I asked if I could post his e-mail here, and he agreed.

I run Young Writers Project, a nonprofit in Vermont that uses Drupal extensively. Our mission is to help create generations of confident, passionate writers and we have discovered that online writing using Drupal is a very powerful tool to get kids to write and build supportive learning communities.

Our main site, youngwritersproject.org, uses Drupal 5 and is a place where registered Vermont (and N.H.) students can share work, offer each other support and get feedback from professionals and college mentors. We now have 3,100 student users out of a total student Internet-age population of 45,000.

We also have a new site designed for schools and teachers, ywpvt.net, that uses Drupal 6. We envision this becoming a vibrant place for teachers to share ideas, problems and knowledge. We have a growing library of innovative, “best practices” for Digital Writing that anyone is free to use.

Off the code for that site we have 18 customized Drupal sites used by individual schools as online classrooms within the school curriculum. These classrooms are hidden behind closed Organic Groups.

In all that we do, we try to make these sites safe and free from spam bots. No easy task but, knock on wood, we have been successful in keeping unwanted material off the sites.

The downside to the way we’ve set up the sites is that it does not allow the freedom of more anonymous posting that sometimes can yield exciting learning experiences.

On January 27, we decided to try an experiment. We suggested to schools across our tiny state to take seven minutes out of their day and have the students, teachers, staff and guests write. Knowing that a lot of Vermont is still not fully in the Digital Age, we knew that much of the writing would be with pencils and paper. But we set up a special site, vermontwrites.ywpvt.net, for those who wanted to post online.

To make the site easier to use we decided to allow anonymous posting and anonymous commenting and to have the site operative for only a short time. That’s when we connected with Mollom.

We monitored the site all day. We had well over 400 posts and several hundred comments – not a lot but a great deal given the tiny size of Vermont and the experimental nature of our idea (at least 12 percent of the state’s schools participated in the overall project) – and we had not one piece of spam. Mollom blocked 39 spam attempts.

That is extraordinary. We did not have to intercede on any unwanted traffic. We were able to have a site that was designed and used by young kids and have it work the way we wanted.

And, frankly, this was an eye-opener for us. And it has opened our thinking to other projects – a regular statewide writing exercise using a site that could encourage more schools, teachers and students to use online technology; writing projects that connected schools here with counterparts around the country and world; and other ideas that would benefit greatly from an “open” site that allowed for easy posting.

Mollom allowed a project to succeed. Mollom also opens the door to new potentials. Thanks.

Geoffrey Gevalt
YWP Director

Mollom for Perl

Michael Peters has just released version 0.03 of his Mollom plugin for Perl. The software is available at CPAN or through your CPAN installer via "install Net::Mollom". I haven't reviewed the code yet, but if you try it and have comments, be sure to post them here. Woop, woop!