Acquia says Mollom’s spam-blocking days have come to an end
Sometimes I get too nostalgic over computers or software that I once used in my daily life. I remember my first computer (the Commodore Vic-20), I remember my first programming language (BASIC), and I remember my first spam filtering software for user generated content (Akismet). But nine years ago, a new spam filtering service originally intended for Drupal called Mollom emerged and I quickly forgot about the other spam blocking software.
I was first introduced to Mollom by Dries Buytaert via an invitation to beta test the service on my websites. After installing Mollom, the amount of time I spent moderating anonymous comments for potential spam was significantly reduced. In less than three years, Mollom had blocked more than 100,000 pieces of spam on one of my websites. Along the way, Mollom was acquired by Acquia and would record blocking over 13.5 billion spam comments worldwide since its inception.
It was a good run for Mollom but unfortunately the end is near. An end-of-life announcement has been placed on the Mollom website notifying users that Acquia will no longer be supporting the service after April 2, 2018.
As of 2 April 2018, Acquia will no longer actively support or maintain Mollom. After that point in time, the Mollom service will no longer be available. If you still have the Mollom module enabled on your site at that point, either all comments will be approved or all comments will be denied depending on how you have the Mollom module configured . We suggest disabling the Mollom module in advance of the end-of-life date.
On 1 May 2017, Mollom will no longer be available for sale on Mollom.com. You can continue to use the service for free with Mollom Free, which offers unlimited spam blocking and up to 50 legitimate posts per day. Users with existing Developer, Professional or Enterprise subscriptions may continue to use Mollom until one monthly billing cycle before the service end-of-life. You can still manage your sites and subscriptions or cancel an existing subscription through the site manager.
In the announcement, the reason given for ending support for Mollom is due to the "online comment and SPAM blocking ecosystems have evolved over the years and unfortunately, Mollom’s spam-blocking days have come to an end".
This announcement doesn't come to a surprise to me. Over the years, many websites have pulled away from managing user comments internally and instead use third party services such as Disqus and Livefyre to manage their comments. Also, given the often low quality content that often comes with anonymous comments many no longer allow non-authenticated content on to their website. On my own websites, I found there is less need for spam filtering once I ended the acceptance of anonymous comments. But overall, I think the biggest change in Mollom's market is that people have less desire to leave comments on a website now that they have the opportunity to direct comments to their own friends and followers via social media. It not too uncommon these days for websites to offer no comment section but instead encourage their readers to discuss the articles on a popular social network.
What are you to do if you still own a website that relies on Mollom to block spam? For Drupal sites, Acquia recommends reCAPTCHA and Honeypot. These services provide similar spam blocking functionality and assist in the curation of user submissions. Personally, I'm not a big fan of CAPTCHA but I recommend and have had good luck with Honeypot. Both modules are geared more to protect websites from automated spam entered via bots and less against human spammers. There are other modules available too such as AntiSpam (currently only supports Drupal 7) which taps into services like Akismet. For all websites currently using Mollom, you may also want to reconsider using Akismet which is primarily used for WordPress sites but are also available for a number of other systems and platforms. Whatever you decide to utilize as an alternative to Mollom, the good news is that you will have until the spring of 2018 to end your reliance on Mollom to block unwanted content onto your website.