AntiSpam: TypePad and the Trio
May 30, 2008
There’s a new spam fighting service in town: TypePad AntiSpam. To put it another way, the spam sheriff of TypePad town is now available to lay down the law elsewhere.
TPAS competes directly with Akismet. The table compares the two spamfighting services with each other, and with two other competitors. I’ve ordered the columns from earliest to most recent (so the alphabetical order is coincidental).
|Previous post at Changing Way?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Service offered by||Automattic||Karabunga||Mollom: shares founder with Acquia||Six Apart|
|If in doubt, challenge with CAPTCHA?||No||No||Yes||No|
|Service has own API?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No, uses Akismet API|
|Open source engine?||No||No||No||Yes|
|Free of charge for personal use?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free for commercial use?*||No||No||No||Yes|
Each of the four is the odd one out in at least one sense. Akismet was first out, and remains the service against which each rival positions itself.
Defensio is the one that doesn’t share developers or an organization with a prominent publishing or content management platform (Akismet/WordPress, Mollom/Drupal, TPAS/TypePad and Movable Type).
Mollom uses CAPTCHA when unsure whether a comment is ham (the good stuff) or spam, whereas each of the others queues the suspect comment for moderation. That’s something of an oversimplification about the others: for example, a TPAS client can use CAPTCHA when told about a suspect comment by the server.
TPAS is open source (GPL V2). I found this particularly interesting, given that the other three are not. They explain that source code access would help spammers. I then realized that while the TPAS inference engine is open, the rules are hidden.
TechCrunch is currently using TPAS via the WordPress plugin that Six Apart provide. Mike Arrington reports that TPAS is doing well so far.
Missing from the table are two of the most interesting potential comparisons: performance and market share. I suspect that we will before long see data relevant to these comparisons, and challenges to the data, and…
Update, after a few hours sleep and some further research. I made a few changes to the above.
I’d like to add that I find the name TypePad AntiSpam interesting. Or rather, I find the choice of name interesting. The name may give the impression that it’s more specific to TypePad than it really is. My guess is that Six Apart think they have a winner on their hands here, and that the success of TPAS will raise awareness and reputation for TypePad.
* Final update to this post. I decided that the last line of the table, while close to the mark, needs clarification. Hence the followup post (see the first comment to the current post).