Drupal Company Acquires Akismet Competitor Mollom To Kill Spam Dead

Today Acquia, the company co-founded by Drupal creator Dries Buytaert to commercialize the open source content management system, acquired Mollom, a spam filtering service also co-founded by Buytaert. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Acquia CEO Tom Erickson tells me the Mollom service will continue to be available for non-Drupal users and pricing will remain unchanged.

Mollom competes with Akismet, the comment spam filtering service provided by WordPress backers Automattic. But Erickson downplays the role that competing with Automattic plays in the acquisition, saying that Drupal generally doesn’t compete head-to-head with WordPress. He says Drupal tends to be used for large sites while WordPress is used for blogs and small sites.

Erickson cites two key ways Mollom is different from Akismet. First, it’s designed to handle multiple types of user generated content, not just comments. That’s important for Drupal users since many use it to power community sites that may include forums or other forms of interaction.

Second, Mollom offers two layers of verification. Akismet relies only on text analysis to determine whether a comment is spam. Mollom runs content through its own text analysis algorithms first, but in cases where it’s not sure whether something is spam it serves up a CAPTCHA. The idea is to produce fewer false positives for spam.

Mollom was founded in 2008 Buytaert and Benjamin Schrauwen. According to its “scorecard” site, Mollom was protecting 50,300 sites at the time of this writing, and blocked 1,282,363 pieces of spam on August 12.

Acquia was founded in 2007 by Jay Batson and Buytaert and is venture funded. Its most recent round, a $15 million series D, was backed by Tenaya Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners and Sigma Partners.