Three new features for the Mollom module for Drupal

We've just released a new version of the Mollom module for Drupal 6, which contains a number of important new features. We always try to listen to our users, and many of these new features are a direct result of your feedback. Read on for an overview of the most important changes.

Retain spam instead of discarding it

Not all of our users are comfortable with the idea of Mollom discarding spam without the possibility of manual review (no matter how spammy the message appears to be). We've solved this in a simple way: a new basic configuration option that causes the Mollom module to retain spam comments as unpublished posts in your site's moderation queue. Moderators and site administrators can review the moderation queue periodically to review Mollom's decisions.

Better protection for user registration forms

Based on the growing number of support tickets, user registration spam has become a significant problem. To help combat this type of spam, the new module release can optionally protect Drupal's user registration form using text analysis instead of the CAPTCHA-only solution previously available. Text analysis is especially useful when the user registration form is extended with additional fields (like "Bio" or "About me").

Identify spam bots using a hidden honeypot

Further, we've added a basic honeypot to all forms protected by Mollom, through the use of a hidden field. Since many spam bots blindly pour data into all available form fields (including the hidden ones), the presence of data in a hidden field inserted by Mollom is a good indicator of spam activity. I have been testing this feature on my personal blog and observed that over 80% of spam attempts trigger the honeypot. The additional form field is hidden by CSS. Since spam bots generally do not parse nor understand CSS, they simply do not realize the field is hidden, and therefore complete it, revealing themselves as bots in the process.

Conclusion

In addition to these three big new features, the new version, as always, includes a number of usability improvements and bug fixes. If you're using Mollom on a Drupal 6 site, we strongly encourage you to upgrade as soon as possible, to run update.php after upgrading, and then finally, to visit your Mollom settings page to adjust the new options now available to you. You can download the latest module from the Mollom project page on drupal.org.

We want to thank you for using Mollom, and ask that you keep the feature suggestions coming, at either the Mollom issue queue on drupal.org, or by using our contact page to e-mail our support team. We'll continue to listen!

Mysterious spike in comment spam spotted

Last week, our servers at Mollom have been actively tracking a spike in spam traffic across the 30,000 sites that we actively protect. And when we say "spike", we should say "three-fold increase". Fortunately, Mollom blocked all the pesky comment spam. As promptly as it came, the spike suddenly went away. Something is going on out there ...

MySource Matrix using Mollom to fight comment spam

In a recent post at Squiz Labs, the R&D arm of the family of open-source CMS products that include MySource Matrix and MySource Mini, the Lab announced that Mollom will provide intelligent CAPTCHA-based protection on its products forms and pages.

Their post offers a great explanation of how Mollom works, and includes a number of example Mollom CAPTCHAs. Of course, Mollom’s CAPTCHAs are only displayed when Mollom’s back-end is undecided about whether a post or form submission may be spam or ham; posts from known spammers or with known spam comment is rejected outright, while “good” posts from reputable posts are accepted without the need for the CAPTCHA challenge. Squiz Labs’s post also provides a neat look (via screenshots of their configuration screens) at how they’ve integrated Mollom’s key settings and other options into the administrative settings for their CMS products.

According to the post, the complete MySource integration with Mollom will roll out with the release of Squiz Matrix v4.0.0, currently due out around November 10th.

From all of us at Mollom, we’re excited to soon be able to welcome the MySource CMS family to our list of supported platforms!

Mollom 6.14 for Drupal released

We released version 1.14 of the Mollom module for Drupal 6 today. This is a maintenance release that fixes various bug (including a minor security bug), and that implements a number of usability and performance improvements. The release also includes some preparation for new features in the next release of the module. For more information, please consult the detailed list of changes in Mollom 6.x-1.1.4. All users are highly encouraged to update to this new Mollom module version.

Two hundred fifty million spam attempts blocked

While many of you (in the US, at least) were out enjoying 4th of July cookouts over a holiday weekend, our servers at Mollom remained hard at work. Around 10pm on Sunday evening, while fireworks colored the sky here in the US, Mollom blocked its 250,000,000th piece of spam. The timing couldn't have been better; it's almost as if the fireworks were for us. ;-)

That is 250 million pieces of content Mollom prevented from cluttering up your sites, and 250 million times we saved administrators all across the web from laborious work in comment moderation queues. If it takes 10 seconds to delete a single spam comment, Mollom has saved site administrators almost 80 years of non-stop work. That has to be worth a few firecrackers at least!