Fun and Unusual CAPTCHAs – Join Our “Bots Don’t Catch Jokes” Movement

Sooner or later each user bumps into CAPTCHAs surfing the net. Some of them are so absurd that the decrypting of their weird messages can urge even the most peace-loving tolerant member of the internet community go berserk. At this rate most of the reasonable users are more likely to abandon your website than continue this idiotic process of proving that they are made of flesh and blood and not of lines of code.

If you are a caring website owner, respecting your visitors and striving for high conversion, we are ready to share valuable information about CAPTCHAs and arm you with user-friendly CAPTCHA tools and plugins, which will sooner bring huge grins on their faces rather than driving them nuts.

OK, let’s go…

What is a CAPTCHA?

Everything is simple: a CAPTCHA is a program that protects websites against bots. It generates and grades tests that can be easily passed by humans, but are absolutely overwhelming for current computer programs. For instance: we can read distorted text, solve small simple puzzles, move objects on the screen, but current computer programs can’t.

Below, you will see some amusing samples of ordinary CAPTCHAs, posted here just to make you smile:

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Fun and Unusual CAPTCHAs

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Fun and Unusual CAPTCHAs

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Fun and Unusual CAPTCHAs

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Fun and Unusual CAPTCHAs

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Fun and Unusual CAPTCHAs

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Fun and Unusual CAPTCHAs

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Now let’s get serious again and continue our investigation.

The term CAPTCHA is an abbreviation for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart. It was introduced in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas Hopper and John Langford of Carnegie Mellon University.

What are fun ans unusual CAPTCHAs (as well as common ones) apllied for?

Here follows a list of main practical security CAPTCHA applications (it’s not exhaustive, as you understand):

  • 1) Preventing comment spam in blogs. CAPTCHA doesn’t allow special programs submit bogus comments. Comment spam is usually aimed on raising search engine ranks of some websites and may look like this: “buy cheap clothes here“.
  • 2) Protecting website registration. CAPTCHA is a kind of guarantee that only human will get a free email account from companies like Yahoo!, Gmail, Outlook.com, GMX, Mail.com, AOL, Zoho, Inbox, Lycos Mail, Hushmail etc. Not long ago, free email account providers suffered from bot attacks that signed up for thousands of email accounts every minute. In short, CAPTCHA prevents abuse by automated scripts.
  • 3) Protecting email addresses from scrapers. CAPTCHAs provide an effective mechanism to hide your email address from web scrapers. It makes users solve a CAPTCHA before showing your email address.
  • 4) Online Polls. There are many precedents in history when online polls turned into contests between voting bots. Is there any sense in such poll? Can you trust its results? Of course not, unless you are sure that only humans took part in the vote.
  • 5) Preventing Dictionary Attacks. CAPTCHAs can be rather useful for preventing dictionary attacks in password systems. After a certain number of unsuccessful logins, the system simply requires to solve a CAPTCHA instead of locking the account.
  • 6) Search Engine Bots. There are several ways not to let the bots on your website: to keep your web pages unindexed, to insert an html tag preventing search engine bots from reading them and CAPTCHA, however, only the latter can give you full guarantee and peace of mind.
  • 7) Worms and Spam. CAPTCHAs offer a trustworthy solution against email worms and spam. The mechanism is as follows: the accounts accept emails only if there is a human behind the other computer.

We hope that now you are more or less convinced that CAPTCHAs are not the annoying obstacles targeted exceptionally on bugging the users, but powerful preventive measures from web abuse. Let’s suppose that you decided to use one of the numerous CAPTCHA implementations on your website. You know, there are really plenty of them on the net. Of course, some work better than the others.

The guidelines below will help you not to get lost in this ocean of software and highlight some essential points to focus on making the choice.

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