Why We Don't Use Captcha

Captcha, the bane of spammers and website users alike.  I know everyone has experienced the joys of squinting at their screen trying to decipher the arcane letters and shapes so that they can leave a comment on their favorite blog explaining why anyone who things the Dr. Who spin-off series are canon is as foolish as anyone who believes that the eight doctor was actually half human (the nerve!).  Even more, we’re familiar with the pain of a small business owner who wants to engage with their client base, but gets several thousand e-mail messages and comments about the benefits of cheap Cialis.  Captcha is a compromise that leaves no one happy, but is a necessary evil.

So why don’t we use Captcha?

It’s true that Captcha is one solution (probably the most commonly used solution) to the problem of spammers, it certainly not the only solution.  If the job of Captcha is to prove that the person making a comment/submitting a form is actually human, then there has to be a way to do this so that the user doesn’t become so frustrated they want to spam your site.  We’re creating a vicious cycle here people.  Let’s first apply some critical thinking before blindly applying Captcha to every form we develop.

Also, a group of hackers recently demonstrated their ability to defeat Captcha with a 99% success rate using their newest bot system.  You read that correctly, hacker and spam bots can now successfully use Captcha at a higher success rate than most humans can.  Doesn’t that make you feel foolish?  It makes me feel foolish…

Then how do we stop spammers without using Captcha?

Enter Gravity Forms, the single greatest form plugin for WordPress.  Here at Spark Logix Studios we use Gravity Forms, combined with their Anti-Spam Honey Pot system to defeat spam and bots with the greatest of ease.  The system works by using an extra, invisible field.  Well, invisible to human users, but not invisible to automatic systems.  See, that’s the genius of how it all works.  Humans will leave the field blank, but bots will fill it with some standard information, alerting Gravity Forms that it is spam.  Any forms that are submitted with the field filled are automatically caught, and spam is avoided.

Through this simple system, your site will be able to filter out spam and annoying bot messages, while not hindering the user experience in the least way.  Users will be much more inclined to send you a note, leave a comment, or interact with your site knowing they don’t have to try to decipher an encrypted, impossible to see sentence.  Not sure how to enable it?  Easy, simply go to your form settings, and check a box.

That’s it.  Couldn’t be simpler.  Now you have exactly no excuse for annoying the world by using Captcha.

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