SPAM is just terrible. We are subject to SPAM on a daily basis. Companies spend millions and millions of dollars combating the spread of SPAM. You may regard SPAM as one of the following:
- unwanted email
- undesirable comments on your blog
- bad sign-ups on your website
One of the ways that firms use to combat SPAM is CAPTCHA. CAPTCHA is a creation from the members of the Carnegie Mellon University. It stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” It prevents automated bots from signing up for services. This is suppose to prevent the spread of even more SPAM. As technology has improved, the bots have gained the ability to literally “read” CAPTCHA and bypass this security measure. As a result CAPTCHA is becoming even more difficult to read. Here are some sample CAPTCHA from some popular web services:
The problem with complicated CAPTCHA
Plain and simple–consumers and companies both have a negative view of SPAM. Companies view CAPTCHA as a necessary evil that protects their systems from unscrupulous operators of “bots.” The issue with CAPTCHA like those shown above is that they are ridiculously difficult to read. Sure, a potential client can just hit the retry or refresh button to get another image but they have little patience. The cycle may seem like this:
- You have a great service worth talking about–hooray!
- A friend recommends the service to a friend.
- The friend logs on to http://your-awesome-service.com. Your front page reassures them that you are worth their time and they begin the signup process (hopefully, your process is relatively simple and only requests the bare minimum [name and email]).
- Then the CAPTCHA appears.
- They type in what the believe they see on the screen. Oops! You were wrong. Try again with this different image. The customer can hardly read the image and hits the retry button. They type in what they think is shown but as you can guess, its incorrect.
- Now the customer is frustrated and clicks away! FAIL!
This process is repeated all over the world every single day mutiple times over. You may have put in a great deal of work conducting research on analyzing “heat maps” and doing “A/B testing” but perhaps all along, your abandon rate was rising because you think your customers are gifted in reading gibberish.
The lesson learned from CAPTCHA
You know that you don’t want to spend resources having your team purge your database to clean out those awful bots. All you need to do is find a CAPTCHA system that is more appropriate for your customers. Here are some companies that are doing it right:
ConfidentCAPTCHA: Click on the picture that is requested. Its fun, engaging, and get customers through in mere seconds!
NuCaptcha: A video is played and you type the red letters. Engaging and quick!
Scrim CAPTCHA: Match the CAPTCHA on the left with the CAPTCHA on the right. Very simple.
Xero Captcha: Complete the tic-tac-toe. Simple as it gets.
Source: CAPTCHA on Wikipedia
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