Remember “those old American Express commercials”:http://youtube.com/watch?v=ABwy2nFh1Vo&search=american%20express created by “Ogilvy and Mather”:http://www.ogilvy.com, ‘Don’t leave home without it?’ Well the same could be said about those identity checkers you see on blogs and websites, otherwise known as captchas. Captcha? Did somebody sneeze?
In all seriousness, thanks to “Mitch Joel”:http://www.onedegree.ca/category/mitch-joel for telling me the proper name. (It looks so much more professional when speaking to the IT department and saying ‘Please implement a captcha for our upcoming viral contest’ as opposed to ‘Can you put in one of those identity checker thing-a-majiggers into our online form.’)
Actually, “CAPTCHA”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captcha stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”.
The short version is that it prevents hackers, scam artists and other filthy mcnasties out there from easily running bots or scripts on online services. Whether it be completing online registration forms for web-based emails so they can spam you later or targeting online contests so they can stack the odds of winning in their favour.
This CAPTCHA of “smwm” obscures its message from computer interpretation by twisting the letters and adding a background color gradient.
We got hit by a bot earlier in the year. One day we had 25,000 subscribers in an online contest and in 24 hours the number skyrocketed to 40,000. I was quite happy until someone burst my bubble and said 14,000 duplicate email addresses now existed in our database.
For our next online contest, you better believe we will have a captcha in place.
If you haven’t done so already, you may want to consider the same. Don’t go online without them.