Dries Buytaert

NowPublic using Mollom

NowPublic is a Vancouver-based news network that mobilizes an army of reporters to cover events around the world. During Hurricane Katrina, NowPublic had more reporters in affected areas than most news organizations have on their entire staff.

Unfortunately, NowPublic was up against as many as 25,000 spam attempts a day, so it needed a solution that would allow the site to grow faster and more effectively without being slowed by comment spam. About one year ago, NowPublic implemented Mollom to protect their site against spam. They use Drupal, so all they needed to do was install the Mollom module for Drupal.

Two major challenges arise from trying to control website spam. First, visitors may lose their motivation to comment or contribute content because they are required so often to prove that they are human and not spam by registering. This erodes participation. Secondly, whether visitors are asked to register or not, site moderation becomes more time-consuming and expensive. Website moderators have to scan comments and other content to find spam instead of interact with the community. Mollom differs from other spam protection solutions, in that it tries to address both problems.

While Mollom is not perfect (it is a work in progress), it works really well for the vast majority of our users. In NowPublic's case, Mollom has prevented more than one million spam attempts since they started using Mollom. Plus, because Mollom removed barriers to participation, they saw an 180% increase in the average number of comments posted per month by users since implementing Mollom's spam-filtering service. Last but not least, according to Jordan Yerman, NowPublic's Contributor Support Manager, Mollom saved NowPublic at least one hour per day dealing with spam. So by the end of the first month, they saved more money than Mollom cost them for the year.

Needless to say, NowPublic is one of my favorite Mollom success stories. Now they are one year into using Mollom, it is rewarding to look back and see how well it has worked for them.

(Disclosure: I am an advisor to NowPublic.)

— Dries Buytaert