A Short History
09 Jul 2007 10:49 AM
The Defensio story begins not-so-long ago with our team looking at the web ecosystem and thinking about those nagging problems that have yet to be satisfactorily resolved. One of the first and most annoying that jumped to mind was spam. As we all know, spam is a scourge that mercilessly plagues our e-mail inboxes. But spam has also crept up on us in the blogosphere: slowly at first, and then exponentially of late, comment spam has begun, much to our collective chagrin, to inundate our blogs like a tidal wave of smelly, post-processed meat sledge.
Vowing to take on the multi-headed beast that is blog spam, the Defensio team set up shop in an old tobacco factory outside of Montreal, plugged in our laptops to large monitors, and started writing spam-shredding Ruby on Rails code. And because no Silicon Valley Eastern-Township startup would be complete without free pop and nerdy games of skill, we rounded out the office space with a fridge and a ping-pong table.
[ . . . time passes, much diet pepsi and pizza is consumed . . .]
After months of R&D, the Defensio blog spam filter was nearing launch-ready state. Encouraging results on our internal testbed prompted us to solicit a few brave local souls (infinite thanks to Julien, Ben and Pat) to run our alpha code on their very own blogs. As we worked out the kinks in the code, we realized that our newborn nameless app urgently needed to be christened with a brand that screamed "spam's worst nightmare". Many brainstorming sessions and many terrible candidate names later (mZego anyone?) our shiny new monicker came to light: DEFENSIO. Strong. Dependable. Spam-aint-gettin-through. Perfect? Yes, but one problem: the domain name was in that murky state known as "redemption period".
We can admit to some sleepless nights as we watched the domain status incessantly. Being the uber-geeks that we are, we wrote a script that polled the WHOIS server every hour and would notify us of a change in state. Eventually, the name became poised for deletion, but it would not be ours until we were dragged into the slimy, wet mud of a bidding war with a shadowy character named 'halvarez', who had a reputation for sniping domain names at the very last second - a formidable opponent, to say the least. Fortunately though, our steely nerves saw us through this online game of chicken, and we prevailed, defensio.com in hand.
Which brings us to the present. Our web-service is now nearing launch ready state, already smoking many thousands of spam comments every day, under the Defensio banner we all so love.
Yet, this is but the beginning of what is sure to be a long, protracted war. As spammers don't sleep, nor will we.