The battle against comment spam on blogs is a never ending one. The cost to value ratio to the spammers is just too good to not take advantage of so they keep coming up with ways around the various tools we have to keep the crap comments out. Captchas help a bit, but the spammers have some programs that can crack them and others just pay people to sit down and type in captchas and legit-sounding comments to get around that obstacle. Add ons such as Bad Behavior and Akismet, the latter of which we use here at SEB, help quite a bit as well.
Now the folks at Six Apart, makers of the venerable MoveableType platform as well as TypePad and VOX, have joined in the fray with a new service called TypePad AntiSpam:
Calling all bloggers! We’d like to enlist your help in making TypePad AntiSpam the best, smartest, free antispam service available. We’ve launched this beta version in an effort to make the service smarter, and we’re counting on your feedback to provide vital information on how to defeat spam more effectively.
- Use it for free. TypePad AntiSpam beta is free for any type of use, personal and commercial, regardless of how many comments you receive. Plugins are available for Movable Type and WordPress.
- Help make it better. Whenever you report unwanted comments, the TypePad AntiSpam engine learns from you, so that it can make even smarter and more effective decisions about spam in the future.
- Get back to blogging. TypePad AntiSpam beta ensures that you see the legitimate comments you want and not the invasive comments you don’t.
It sounds like it’s somewhat similar to Akismet, it’s even 100% Akismet API compatible, and they’re making it available to everyone at no charge. They only offer plugins for MT3, 4 and WordPress at the moment, but they’re looking for folks to develop plugins for other platforms. Because of the compatibility with the Akismet API, though, any platform that has an Akismet plugin should already be able to make use of TypePad Antispam as well. In theory I should be able to sign up and switch the Akismet plugin I’m using now over to TypePad and have it work.
Also interesting is the fact that Six Apart has made the core part of the TypePad Antispam application Open Source and are offering to let other folks use it to run their own antispam services:
Interested in building your own antispam service? We’ve made the application framework behind TypePad AntiSpam available under an open source license (GPL v2, to be exact).
While we aren’t sharing all of the rules and logic that we run with our implementation of the TypePad AntiSpam engine (lest we arm spammers with too much information), we are open sourcing the core engine. This allows others to build and operate their own services—even competitive services—on top of our framework. We encourage developers who make use of the system to share what they learn with others who use the code.
Time will tell if this new service will help much in reducing the amount of comment spam that makes it onto blogs, but any additional weapons in the fight are always a welcome thing. Oh, and as always, they even have a blog to keep you up to date on new develops and plugins for other platforms.