If there is anything utterly annoying about Web sites these days, it is CAPTCHA technology. Distorted, hard-to-read text and numbers might cut down on spam, but frustrate Web site visitors and may result in more lost sales than we care to admit.
A new company called Solve Media has an innovative idea. Instead of distorted text, visitors are asked to input part of the text in an advertisement. This still proves the user as human, but is less frustrating for the user, and earns the site owner a profit at the same time.
Advertisements vary. For example, this variation asks the Web site visitor to enter just the text in quotes. The quoted text is as much an advertisement at the big blue e.
Sometimes the advertisements ask for feedback responses instead, like this one for Travelers:
One kind of advertisement that not all site owners will like contains a short video site visitors must watch to see the security code. This advertisement for a popular movie may annoy visitors just as much as CAPTCHA.
Luckily, the video ads appear to be the minority. Most of the ones we test drove had easy-to-read text written directly on the advertisement.
Installing Solve Media requires very little. After a quick sign up process, all you must do is add a few lines of code to your Webpages, and you are in business.
The widget can be customized to some extent. The size and theme may be altered, and site owners may choose a difficulty level for the puzzles.
Overall, Solve Media has a good idea, and it is high time we start seeing improvements with these security features. Granted, an over-abundance of advertisements on a Web site can become tacky and distracting, so use with care.