Six Apart Trains Guns on ‘Comment Spam’


Weblog tools vendor Six Apart is in the latter stages of plans to roll out
an open online authentication system to thwart comment spammers.

Not much is known about the new TypeKey service but San Mateo,
Calif.-based Six Apart promises it will be a free system that provides
a central identity that anyone can use to log in and post comments on blogs
and other Web sites.

It is the company’s response to the “comment spam” problem being
encountered by Web publishers who enable a feature to allow readers to reply
to news and stories.


Spammers have taken a liking to blogs, adding
hyperlinks and innocuous messages among legitimate comments as part of a
scheme to manipulate results on search pages.

Because some search engines like Google return search results based on
the number of pages that link to a particular site, spammers are bombarding
blogs with fake comments and links to sites hawking pornography, medical and
herbal products.

While many have sought temporary respite from Blacklist plug-ins, Six
Apart believes TypeKey could shift the power to authenticate comments back
into the hands of publishers.

“TypeKey helps ensure that people who comment on a site have a verified
identity, keeping conversations on track and helping to prevent abusive or
offensive content (comment spam) from being posted. Sites that enable
TypeKey have better accountability for the content that’s being published,”
the company said in preview material released this week.

A blogger or Web publisher using TypeKey gets complete control over who
can post comments, while limiting the process to a single sign-in for
readers. “A lower barrier to comment registration means your commenters
won’t encounter any barriers while expressing themselves. And all weblog
comments and other data still live on your server.”

With TypeKey, publishers can also manage comments to delete spam before
it appears on Web sites.

Six Apart plans to ship the first version of TypeKey with its upgraded
Movable Type 3.0 product later this spring but the service would also be
available for competing blog vendors. The company said it would provide
documentation on how to integrate the authentication service into
third-party commercial applications.

Six Apart, founded by the Ben and Mena Trott in 2002, is backed by Tokyo,
Japan-based venture capital firm Neoteny. Former PayPal executive Reid
Hoffman, who now runs the LinkedIn social software platform, is also an
investor.

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