You’ve dealt with CAPTCHA if you’ve ever tried to enter information into a Web form. You type your request and maybe some personal information, and then you have to decipher a scrunched-up nonsense word and number puzzle to also type into the Web form.
Studies have demonstrated that users take about 14 seconds to decipher a typical CAPTCHA puzzle. If you think about it, you could’ve wasted months of your life solving CAPTCHAs without even realizing it.
The technology grew popular in the first decade of the 21st century, as companies worked to distinguish real humans from computer bots designed to spam Web forms. But after years of squinting at these puzzles and then typing in the letters incorrectly, only to be given another puzzle that is equally difficult to see, we humans have responded the only way we know how.
While some of us were considering stabbing our LED monitor screens with a ballpoint pen, other more industrious groups like Solve Media were thinking of how to eliminate CAPTCHA. Solve Media’s ad-based verification is an ingenious solution to the CAPTCHA conundrum because it combines security with the opportunity for companies to sell ads.
For example, instead of solving a CAPTCHA, you could be asked to recite the slogan for T-Mobile before hitting “Enter” on your Web form. Or you could see a still ad featuring Serena Williams endorsing OPI nail polish and be asked to type in the company name.
Other security tools vying to take down CAPTCHA include puzzle solving and simple arithmetic questions. While simple, these options can’t compete because they don’t have the power of advertising revenue behind them.
Solve Media claims that ad-based human verification takes only seven seconds, which is half of CAPTCHA’s 14-second average. Now, instead of wasting your life solving CAPTCHAs, you can look at even more commercials.
In this case, however, you may actually not mind the ad.
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