mollom,content montoring,acquia Dries Buytaert does not appear to be a man who likes to sit down and rest. He has just announced his newest startup Mollom -- automated content monitoring -- is available free in public beta.

How Does Mollom Work?

Mollom has been developed as a webservice that organizations can integrate into their content management sites. Basically any site that allows a visitor to post or contribute comments, forum posts or fill in contact us forms would use this service to ensure those comments are really not spam. The data to be checked is sent to Mollom.com which then reviews the content and returns a spam or ham classification response. In some instances, if Mollom isn't sure about the content, they return an "unsure" classification along with a prompt ask Mollom's CAPTCHA server to present the user with an audio or visual CAPTCHA challenge. mollom_howitworks.jpg

For those of you who have never heard the term, CAPTCHA is a type of challenge-response test that ensures a user is indeed a user and not a computer trying to spam a website. An example of a CAPTCHA test is shown below: CAPTCHAsample.jpg

A key feature of Mollom is it's ability to store reported comment spam from participating sites that has "slipped through the cracks". This information is then used by Mollom to help it learn and prevent future abuse. Some other technical features of Mollom include: * Elimination of spam moderation queues * Extensive statistics - you can see realtime statistics on Mollom's homepage and also have an individual stats page for your site * Open API - Drupal users can use a pre-built plug-in for their CMS, everyone else needs to create their own plug-in using the API * Support for OpenID Content Quality Assessment from Mollom Another enhancement for Mollom is the Content quality assessment currently in BETA. These are automated content quality assessments where Mollom will provide a quality score for each post it receives. Your site can ignore or reject comments marked as spam by assessing the score for the post. This gives the website owner the ability to control comments to site based on their own metrics rules.

Mollom and Acquia

Dries Buytaert's full time job is with Acquia, which deals with Drupal distributions. But this latest venture is not a part of Acquia. Rather it is a self-funded startup that Buytaert started with schoolmate Benjamin Schrauwen. One of the reasons given for keeping Mollom separate from Acquia is that they intend to market this to content management systems other than just Drupal. That being said, Acquia will offer Mollom services as part of their subscription offering. We first heard about the new startup via Seth Gottlieb's blog ContentHere. Gottlieb, who is an investor in Acquia, said "I would be a little concerned about Dries' commitment to their start-up. But, given Dries' value to any Drupal-based business, I am sure that the VC's are willing to give him wide latitude." It will be interesting to see if this new venture doesn't eventually get pulled completely into the Acquia fold. After all, there's only so much one man can do before he really needs some sleep. The public beta for Mollom will be available until June 1, 2008. After that, the basic version of the service will continue to be free (with limited volumes and features). A more robust, enterprise or customizable version can be negotiated.