Akismet Might Have Some Serious Competition on Their Hands

Automattic’s Akismet has been long known as the king of spam detection. It has been ported to multiple content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, MovableType, phpBB, Joomla, b2evolution, Geeklog, and many more. It is, hands down, one of the most popular solutions to handle all this spam, but now there is something else ready to take on the likes of Akismet. It, perhaps, might even be more effective than Akismet.

Defensio, a comment spam detection system which claims 99.77% accuracy, is really striving to become serious competition to Akismet. Not only that, but the development team aims to pick up where Akismet has left off.

The system improves upon what Akismet has built in many ways: the system ranks comments by “spaminess,” it adapts to your blog over time, and it also provides RSS feeds for your comments. But it also does so much more.

Rick Olson of ActiveReload discussed the ways in which Defensio differs from Akismet:

How does Defensio differ? It sports a very similar API with a few added methods. First, it can scan articles as they’re posted. I’m assuming this provides an extra layer of protection by finding topics that may be off topic. They also provide a method to retrieve basic statistics. Though I think the most important additions are the inclusion of unique signatures and ‘spaminess’ scores. Unique signatures allow me to report spam/ham on previously checked comments without having to reconstruct the original request again. The spaminess value provides a convenient way to sort comments. Perhaps you want to see valid comments with the highest spaminess value, or spam with the lowest spaminess value to look for false reporting.

With Defensio’s claims of 99.77% accuracy, I managed to get around 96.43% accuracy (I took this screen-shot this morning, but it has changed to 96.43% since then) , but I did not reach a level of comments which was sufficient to accurately judge. If I had given it a few more days, I quite possibly would have over 99% accuracy, but I just managed to get hit with a false-positive yesterday. I believe it is still in “training.” Over the past four weeks, I received zero spam on my blog and two false-positives. With that in mind, I believe it was fairly accurate considering the low volume of comments. The aggressiveness of the filtering can also be tweaked. I set mine to a relatively low setting, but you might prefer to set it higher once you have trained the application.

The only suggestion I have would be to send email notifications when there are questionable items in the spam queue. But other than that, I was more than satisfied with the product, and I would recommend that people who have not been overly satisfied with Akismet to give it a shot. It is a really simple setup.

If you have used Defensio or have any questions, please let me know in the comments section. I’ll be glad to hear about your experiences and offer any help that I can.

18 thoughts on “Akismet Might Have Some Serious Competition on Their Hands

  1. Better choices!

    The battle for spam prevention continually grows. We will all benefit from this.

    Thanks for commenting!

  2. Definitely going to check it out. I have started with Disqus on my blog and since then there is virtually no spam whatsoever on my blog. Will need to check out Defensio on another blog to see its efficiency.

  3. No problem.

    If you happen to read this, does Mollom provide you with statistics on how it is performing? If so, could you, perhaps, post those statistics here?

    I’ve never used the service, but I’d be interested in seeing some feedback on how well it blocks spam.

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. Thanks for the insights. It sounds promising. We use Mollom to defend comments from spam on our Drupal websites and I am very pleased with that. But no doubt there will be other interesting efforts such as this one. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out on Defensio. If only because Mollom will become a paid service (which is not bad in itself, but my clients might consider not implementing it until they are swamped with spam and see the benefit of such a service).

  5. Thanks for commenting David.

    Everything I said was not only an opinion, but for most people, it should become a reality. All this “fanboism” and “X company is better than Y company” really needs to end.

    Now, I wasn’t even alive in 1982, but I know what you are talking about. Technology is one of my favorite subjects to study.

    Actually, I just wrote a nice article about a company called Stardock on my blog, and it is just an example of how something new and and better could really strive… even if it is just one guy with a dream.

    People need to be more accepting of competitive products and, at the very least, be willing to try them. It will encourage more competition and, theoretically, better products.

    Thanks again for commenting David.

  6. I couldn’t agree more! I bought my first personal computer in 1982 and many of the programs that were “satisfactory” or even “state of the art” at one point are no longer leaders in their field. Thank goodness that there were competitors that moved the development forward.

  7. Well, see… there is “good enough” and then “great.”

    On the contrary, I believe there is a serious need for improvements.

    If we were to settle for “good enough,” we wouldn’t make any progress.

    To those who say, “Akismet was a satisfactory solution to most people,” would appear somewhat biased (for lack of a nicer word). I’m not saying you are Alex, I’m just going to use you for an example, because I know your not that way.

    Microsoft is a satisfactory operating system for most people. Yet I am a Mac and Linux user. Windows XP works well, but Mac OS X works better and is more reliable for me.

    So, people can’t really strike down Defensio if they haven’t tried it. Just like I can’t strike down Mollom (it will be a pay service), and any other solution that I have yet to try.

    I will admit that Defensio is a relatively new service. Akismet does have a lot of experience. Akismet probably is the better service. But, does that mean it can’t be better? Of course not.

    People forget about the concept of competition. Competition drives progress, and people just don’t understand that these days. It is the newer generation (which I am a part of) that does this.

    Shockingly, I read another blog that someone said that it is a shame we have to have other services trying to come along to compete with Akismet. Are you kidding me? That was just amazing.

    Considering that plugins are developed for WordPress on a daily basis and WordPress.com is associated with Akismet, does this mean that other alternatives should be shunned?

    I understand the point of using something if it is the best. But are you people willing to blindly settle for the fact that Akismet is the best? Everyone I have talked to admitted that Akismet has missed spam messages.

    I had a run on my WordPress.com blog where 8 spam mesages got through Akismet. That was pretty bad… that was the reason I tried Defensio in the first place.

    It just doesn’t seem right to write off Mollom, Defensio, and many other products which are being develop for this purpose.

    Surely everyone must agree?

    Why not give the alternative services a shot? It takes three minutes to install… It isn’t fair to claim Akismet is best.

    Similarly, quite a few years ago, it wasn’t fair of everyone to claim that MovableType was the best. Obviously, things changed. WordPress came along and look at what we have now. We have a better product… people were willing to move away to something else.

    If people lose sight of that, we will never make serious strides to getting better software.

    Think about it…

    I don’t mind people not wanting to try other products because they are satisfied with their current solutions. Business practice this all the time. But writing other products off before trying them is a big disappointment. A big disappointment to me especially—I try to evaluate a wide range of services before coming to a decision.

    I have disabled comments by the way, so trust me, I have no motivation to defend Defensio, but I do have an obligation to support a non-biased blogosphere. Not saying anyone is, but to those of you who are, please change your ways.

    Who knows, we might all be moving to Drupal in a few years. We might all move back to MovableType. We might even move to some completely out of this world platform that just blows WordPress out of the water.

    If there was something better than WordPress. I’d be jumping all over it. If there is something better than Akismet, I am surely going to tell everyone about it.

    [END RANT]

    Now, hopefully someone can offer an opinion about some alternative comment spam solutions.

    If anyone knows of other services like the aforementioned, please let us know. Perhaps I will do an in-depth study of various spam filtering solutions in the future. We will see truly which system can stand up to the test of spam. While it can’t be a full proof test, we can get some ideas.

    Perhaps I’ll set it up so that several different bloggers in the same niche evaluate a range of products. That way, we can know that the results are truly legitimate.

    Anyways, thanks for reading this insanely long comment. I’m done now 😀

  8. I wonder how this one is going to play out. I am agreeing with Jeff C -it struck me that Akismet was a satisfactory solution to most people… maybe it isn’t, I don’t know. But it’s difficult to market a product to people who don’t have great need of it – and if Akismet does the job, I can’t see how other products are going to take over, it’s an industry standard.

  9. I’m open to anything that will reduce spam. It is an evil thing 😛

  10. Now I wonder how well the open sourced TypePad antispam measures will work when compared to aksimet. I wonder if their anti spam solution will ever be as good or better than akismet since akismet is the leader in this space to me.

  11. Thank you for giving us another alternative to Akismet. It can only help in the fight against spam, and that is something I must applaud.

    Keep up the great work.

  12. Another service called Mollom is aiming to tackle the same issue that Akismet and Defensio are taking on.

    This service is very different, and it will be a pay-for service in the future, but I will see if I can get an account and test it out.

  13. I’m really interested in hearing of some users who have used Defensio. Again, I’ve only had around a month of using it, but I am impressed, but I can’t be sure.

    Please let everyone know of your experiences!

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