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Acquia Acquires Anti-Spam Partner Mollom

Technology will be incorporated into a forthcoming comment moderation platform for Drupal and other content management systems.

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Acquia, the company that provides commercial backing and cloud services for Drupal, has acquired Mollom, an anti-spam service frequently used with Drupal.

Mollom was already a kissing cousin with Acquia, co-founded by Dries Buytaert, the co-founder and CTO of Acquia and the original creator and project lead for Drupal, the open source content management system. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Acquia CEO Tom Erickson said one of reasons for bringing Mollom into Acquia is that the anti-spam service covers other platforms beyond Drupal.

"It's really the roadmap that gets us very excited," Erickson said.

Acquia plans to launch a comment moderation platform based on Mollom technology that community managers will be able to use to manage comments coming in from multiple websites, including but not limited to Drupal websites.

[ What's changed in spam? Read Social Phishing Spikes As Spam Declines, IBM Finds. ]

Mollom analyzes the content of comments to identify likely spam and it can also use CAPTCHA challenges (those distorted words or phrases you type into a box to prove you're not a robot). "Mollom is the only one that does both," said Bryan House, Acquia's VP of marketing. The combination of those two methods filters out most objectionable content, but "the reality is there is always some gray area, stuff that needs to be looked at with the human eye," he said.

Many consumer websites forgo adding social interaction simply because they worry that the burden of moderating comments will become unmanageable, House said, and Acquia believes it can help make that challenge more manageable.

For an example, House cited Warner Music Group, a customer of Drupal Gardens for its artist websites. "If you're Warner Music, and you've got hundreds of artists, your team will be able to use this dashboard to see comments from across hundreds of sites," he said. Warner is one of the customers testing of the service, which is currently in private beta, he said. The comment moderation service commercial release is planned for later this year.

House said the comment moderation initiative is part of a larger pattern of Acquia making website management easier, as the company shifts from serving highly technical developers to more marketing-driven users.

Mollom was established in 2008 as a competitor to products like Askimet, an anti-spam service from Automattic, the makers of WordPress.

The Mollom scorecard on spam and ham (non-spam) processed since 2008.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and

Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)

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