Acquia acquires Mollom website spam detection tool

Hopes to expand product into content moderation platform

Acquia, the company that provides enterprise support for the open source web content management tool Drupal, announced today that it had purchased Mollom, a tool that catches and removes content spam. The tool works with Drupal and other tools as well.

The purchase shouldn't be much of surprise though because the company was co-founded by Dries Buytaert, the co-founder and CTO at Acquia along with Benjamin Schrauwen, who will continue in his role as architect and lead developer of the product.

Mollom boasts some well-known customers including Twitter, Sony Music and Thomson Reuters. The product detects spam comments and removes them from the site, not unlike Akismet for WordPress.

What's interesting is that it works on both Drupal and non-Drupal platforms--although with this acquisition, the focus will be on the Drupal platform first, even while continuing to work with other systems, Acquia CTO Buytaert said. "While Acquia's first commitment is to the Drupal community, Mollom's technology presented a unique opportunity to explore pursuing a non-Drupal exclusive product. Mollom is in use by 70% of Acquia's current customer base, so the value remains clear for the Drupal community," he said.

Mollom's Schrauwen explained that the goal here is to move Mollom from a pure spam-blocking product to a full platform. "Acquia's vision to transform Mollom from an effective spam-blocking solution into the first community-backed content monitoring platform  will help our customers quickly understand the qualitative aspects of the user-generated posts on their site--in addition to removing the unwanted spam," he said.

Buytaert said they first sought external funding for Mollom, but each potential source wanted a long-term time commitment from him, something he was unwilling to do, as he was already committed to Acquia and pushing Drupal's growth. Finally, Acquia decided purchasing it themselves seemed like the easiest solution.

"By having Acquia acquire Mollom, I could still be a part of the company I co-founded, and Mollom could receive the funding it needed for future growth," Buytaert explained.

Online communities clearly need a solution to battle Spam comments. As any blogger can tell you, they are a scourge and it takes a lot time to clean up your website from this garbage. Tools like Mollom can automate the process and require less site maintenance are always going to be useful.

For more:
- see the Acquia press release

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