We’ve all been to sites which require a user to type in a word to prove that she isn’t a evil spam robot, well that verification system is called CAPTCHA. I don’t know how I feel about CAPTCHA… actually, I lied, I know exactly how I feel. I don’t like it. But I also know that it is sometimes needed, or at least it is sometimes felt that it is needed.
To be honest, WordPress does a pretty good job of keeping spam out, between the Bad Behavior plugin and the Askimet plugin no one I know has had a burdensome spam problem. I don’t need an extra annoying step for my users. I also know that I’ve decided not to participate in discussions on some websites after seeing the hoops the site owners wanted me to jump through.
Regardless of your feelings for CAPTCHA there is a new type of CAPTCHA and it is being called reCAPTCHA. On the surface it works exactly the same, asking the user to type in the word shown. The difference is that the words being typed in help digitize books. What difference could a few words make? Well, the reCAPTCHA people estimate that “150,000 hours of labor per day” is spent on solving CAPTCHA’s.
So if you are a Site Owner who’s determined to force users to use verification systems like this you can at least make that wasted time useful to the rest of the internet.