Last night Vancouver-based NuCaptcha took the wraps off their new take on an old problem: the captcha. NuCaptcha uses video (and often an ad), moving words, and color to make a captcha that should be difficult to impossible for computers to solve. Could this be the next way to defeat spammers and provide ad revenue for site owners?
We’ve all seen them filling out forms online. Do some math, look at semi garbled characters, choose a picture, something to prove that, yes, I am a human, before a form can be submitted. The goal is to prevent bots and spammers from submitting comments or gaining access to sites, while letting people in. The general flaw in captcha systems has been that eventually either clever geeks find ways to scrape and access captchas through better and better image processing or cheap labor can be employed to have real humans fill in captchas all day to gain access to sites, etc.
There has been a second problem that travels hand in hand with trying to make captchas harder and harder for computers to defeat, making sure that real humans can still read and understand them. How many times have you had to refresh to get a captcha you could read? Or just failed at entering the captcha and eventually give up? If you’re anything like me probably lots. So we have a dual problem, smarter computers but still the limitations of what people can see and read.
NuCaptcha decided to take different tack on the problem. Instead of making words harder for humans to read, make something harder for computers to process. The answer they came up with is video. The image up at the top (I put the arrow in for you) shows part of the text that moved and wiggled across the screen. Now, the image behind is a static one that is for the World Cup, but what NuCaptcha thought, which is pretty clever, why not make it all an ad? Here’s a video from the folks at NuCaptcha explaining the system as well as the ad system:
From the press release here are the features NuCaptcha brings to the table:
- Video technology that simplifies the authentication process for humans, but is harder for computers to solve; the result is greater authentication security,yet easier, more enjoyable tests, than the leading CAPTCHA.
- Publishers and advertisers can achieve 100 percent higher user engagement over traditional online advertisements; Retention rates increase 12 fold whenusers repeat words, resulting in far greater brand recall, (based on a recent study by the Wharton Group).
- Publishers and advertisers can create “instant” NuCaptcha videos by turningexisting video advertisements into NuCaptcha Engage™ advertisements; thisenables publishers to get up-to-speed in a few hours with trusted advertisers.
- The following video sizes are available: Standard IAB unit, 300 x 250; half height, 300 x 125; or large, 640 x 480.
- Pricing is either on a video CPM basis ($10 to $25), or a cost-per-engagement basis ($0.10 to $1.00), for larger, longer videos.
While I think this is very cool, and will probably be easier to use, I wonder if it will become annoying. Though the video is streamed (not Flash!) and can even revert to an animated GIF, will it slow down the site? NuCaptcha released a WordPress plugin for the systems and while the ads don’t appear until tomorrow, I might just give this a try on my personal site.
Hat tip to Techvibes
Read next: 5th Annual Knight News Challenge Opens Today