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October 31, 2010

Should Bloggers Profit Off Of Spammers Via CAPTCHA Ads?

Despite the fact that blog platforms like Blogger and WordPress are moving away from CAPTCHA’s (aka those silly puzzles that verify whether you’re human), it looks like one company is trying to make CAPTCHA’s cool again by helping bloggers profit off of every word typed.

ADSCAPTCHA’s™ innovative Pay Per Type™ platform creates profits from CAPTCHA technology. Instead of paying for CAPTCHAs, website owners and developers can make money from every ADSCAPTCHA™ that is typed in full. That’s 280,000,000 opportunities – and counting – every day. [...]

The ADSCAPTCHA™ model links advertisers, website owners and web developers so that everyone benefits. Website owners & developers get high-level internet security and a share of advertising revenues. Advertisers gain the most powerful marketing tool available today, customized to their targeted audience and budget. The ADSCAPTCHA™ experience for the user is more fun and more meaningful than standard CAPTCHAs, which means it is a powerful opportunity to “capture” the target audience.  (ADSCAPTCHA.com)

Although ADSCAPTCHA is not the first to envision merging word puzzles with ads (as Confident Technologies is also attempting to do this), they probably will not be the last which means that bloggers will soon be arguing whether CAPTCHA’s are still relevant (now that there is money on the table).

Since there seems to be a loyal fan base devoted to CAPTCHA’s (note: I use to be one until I encountered Akismet by WordPress), here are a few reasons why bloggers should (and should not) use CAPTCHA ads for their blogs. read more

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September 21, 2009

Will Google Make reCAPTCHA Even Better?

Google have acquiredrecaptcha_logo.gif reCAPTCHA, the CAPTCHA spam stopping service that gives you a visual presentation of words scanned out of public domained books. You know the kind, that nasty image where you have to struggle to read the letters you have to input in a field to validate that you aren’t a spam bot. I like reCAPTCHA and use them when CAPTCHA functionality is needed, a necessary evil sometimes, but no universal solution nonetheless.

Maybe Google can make it work even better? After all, they have a huge amount of content to pull from thanks to Google Books, maybe that can help? Personally I doubt it, Google hints to why they are in fact buying reCAPTCHA in the announcement post (bold added by yours truly):

So we’ll be applying the technology within Google not only to increase fraud and spam protection for Google products but also to improve our books and newspaper scanning process.

That being said, I remain slightly optimistic that Google can make reCAPTCHA a better solution when a CAPTCHA is needed.

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February 19, 2009

Spammers continue to thwart Hotmail’s CAPTCHA system: fake email and blog accounts abound

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The news came through a couple of days ago that Microsoft’s Live Hotmail CAPTCHA system has yet again been compromised by spammers.

The method works by using an army of zombie PCs (those that have been compromised by malicious software and can be remotely controlled) and a remote computer server to handle image decoding.

It’s not the first time Microsoft’s system has been compromised, and it likely won’t be the last. Other online accounts aren’t immune either. Spammers need lots of fake accounts in order to send emails and publish splogs. read more

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October 22, 2008

TIME Piece on CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA is that annoying technology that asks you to type the characters in an image in a field to post a comment, get an account, or whatever. It’s a spam fighting tool, and one of the more successful ones I might add.

TIME’s got a piece on CAPTCHA which should be pretty interesting reading if you want to know about where it is originating, and what is being done to make sure that it stays successful. Personally, I hate it, but it serves its purpose and probably makes the web a better place, don’t you think?

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September 8, 2008

WTF Blog Clutter: The Death of the CAPTCHA

Many say, “It’s about time.” Others are saying, “We told you.” Either way, it’s as official as it gets. Bye-bye WTF blog cluttering CAPTCHAs. According to the Guardian in “How Captcha was foiled: Are you a man or a mouse?”, the CAPTCHA has been proven to not work.

While most of this ongoing series on WTF Blog Clutter has been focused on the blog sidebar and design elements, a big clutter element is the continued use of the CAPTCHA with comments with the misguided belief that it would stop comment spammers. NOT.

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, created to ensure that humans can read the letters and numbers in a way that computers can’t, so automated scripts and bots can’t leave a comment on your blog. Pass the test and you’ve earned the right to comment. Except that the CAPTCHA techniques have been broken and bypassed easily by computers for years. read more

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August 30, 2008

ZDNet takes a look at the CAPTCHA economy in India

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Many of us use CAPTCHA technology for preventing comment spam, registration spam on forums, or for other spam blocking mechanisms on email and other online tools.

Did you know there was an entire underground economy operating in the world focused on defeating those CAPTCHA blocks?

ZDNet takes a look inside the India version of that economy:

Let’s analyze the shady data processing economy of India, discuss exclusive photos of Indian workers breaking MySpace and Google CAPTCHAs, and take a tour inside the web applications of several Bangladesh based franchises, whose team of almost 1,000 international workers is actively soliciting deals for breaking Craigslist, Gmail, Yahoo, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook’s CAPTCHA, promising to deliver 250k solved CAPTCHAs per day on a “$2 for a 1000 solved CAPTCHAs” rate.

The story goes on to examine a few different “de-CAPTCHA” firms and has pictures of the workers and links to their websites.

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