Brand Your Captcha – Introducing AdCaptcher

Every once in a while I stumble upon some interesting online project. Being for so long in this market as an entrepreneur certainly makes it easier. One of the most interesting projects I saw in the last few months is called AdCaptcher. And, if you’re a regular commenter on this blog you may already used it. 😉

Brand Your Captcha?

If you tried to post a comment on my form you saw that captcha you had to fill in before the comment gets approved. So far, nothing spectacular, a lot of blogs are using captcha on the comment forms to avoid spam. What’s different here is that if I use AdCaptcher, I can control my own captcha text. Exactly. The words used by me were: ‘a better life’, and I’m sure you wondered how can a simple captcha serve a piece of text so in sync with the blog theme. Well, it wasn’t by hazard, that I can tell you. A bit confused? Ok, let’s take it step by step.

Here’s how AdCaptcher works in just a few simple sentences.

If you have a blog, you go register at AdCaptcher (this is an invite link, it will expire after 200 logins, so you’d better hurry). Once you have an account, you can submit your site. After you submit your site, you can add an image. That image would be the one used for captcha. The text in that image would be the text your users have to fill in order to be validated. Don’t worry, the admin interface is pretty simple.

After you set up your blog and you add your image, you can start a campaign. Your freshly created captcha will start to be displayed on other blogs and that would be what AdCaptcher call a campaign. You can buy more impressions or just use a standard exchange rate. There’s more to be explained about campaigns, but to be honest, this is not the best place for that, you’d better go there and see for yourself. Everything is neatly put into packages and suitable sized for your blog traffic (packages are based on a number of impressions).

After you set up your blog, your image and your campaign, you gotta download a little wordpress plugin to make it all work. There is a link at the AdCaptcher site for it. This plugin will make the connection between your setup at the AdCaptcher servers and your comment form in your blog. Once you activate the plugin, ta-daaa: you have a tiny little captcha just above the comment text area.

Advantages

First of all, it’s the spam control. I learned a little bit about the technology used by AdCaptcher and I can tell you it’s pretty solid. I won’t go into detail because, usually, you don’t make spam fighting technologies public. There’s a pretty solid reason for that: a spammer may read and learn.

Second, you get to brand your captcha with your own text, helping your users having a better experience. I remember that at least 2 of my commenters were positively impressed by the words I choose for my captcha and believe me, I consider this to be a pretty positive outcome of this little piece of technology.

Third, you promote your blog by having your captchas delivered on other blogs and that’s a pretty interesting advantage. If you run a blog you know how difficult is to attract new readers. And having your own captcha inserted in the hottest point of a blog, the commenter form, could be an incentive for them to click and see what’s all about.

AdCaptcher is still in private beta but it’s working. I used for a few weeks on my blog and it didn’t made any major blunders. Of course, there’s a lot of work to be done, but I think it’s a pretty interesting concept. If only because nobody thought so far to build such a complex application just in order to brand a captcha.

As for my affiliation with AdCaptcher, there isn’t any. I’m not affiliated with them in any ways, I just think this is a pretty cool idea.

So, if you want to try it for yourself, just click on this link to get an invite. Remember, it will expire after 200 uses, so you’d better be fast.



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Hey Dragos,

    I always wondered how you customized your catchpa. Now we know 🙂

    These little customizations and tweaks makes your blog stand out from the pack. Glad to see that you are sharing your tips.

    Thanks for letting us know about this cool new feature. I’m signing up quickly.

    Karen

  2. Personally I don’t think its a good idea.

    catchpas on comments are a bad idea and unnecessary. I’ve worked on big blogs that are a target to spammers, and there are plenty of good solutions that don’t involve annoying the user, and effectively dealt with spam.

    Secondly I don’t think the tech behind this is secure at all. Basically, they are just breaking the image up into two bits, both of which could easily be snapped via a script and relatively simple algorithm would be required to translate the text.

    I like innovation, but I don’t think this is a good idea. As UI designer, I wouldn’t recommend it.
    .-= Anthony Feint´s last blog ..How Being A Jerk will Help Your Blog =-.

    1. I stick to my opinion, I think this is a good idea. Every innovation comes with a cost and sometimes this cost may seem unnecessary. For me, the branding and interaction part of this concept are unique. The fact that you don’t recommend it’s your choice and you’re free to stay with it as long as you want.

      I remember blogs were seen as unnecessary a few years ago and nobody believed in them. Not to mention twitter or other social media outlets. In the end, it’s not what the Universe provides you, but what you do with what you get, how you use it.

      If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or, in your case, if you don’t want lemons, you can always ask for a refund 🙂

      1. I agree but you can’t compare social media outlets with a flaw in user interaction design (a flaw that countless UI designers have tried and fixed). Its not as if people are going to warm to the idea of captchas – these are one of the oldest elements in a UI, theve been around (including ones with words) for a very long time.

        All I’m saying is it hurts conversions of readers into comments.

        Its around a 7% decrease and exaggerates the bigger the blog.

        “but what you do with what you get” – 100% agree. This is one option. If you like it, use it for sure. I like other methods.

        Personally, its a constant struggle of mine to build something better than a captcha.

  3. The biggest issue, in my opinion, is the fact that trackbacks will not be visible anymore.

    Other than that, I think branding the captcha in any way is a great idea.
    .-= Bobby Voicu´s last blog ..LeWeb2009 – afterthoughts =-.

    1. Bobby, Dragos is right! It doesn’t interfere with the trackbacks.
      .-= Razvan Tirboaca´s last blog ..Sarbatori Fericite =-.

      1. All the captcha plugins I used had this issue. Glad to see it is not the issue anymore 🙂
        .-= Bobby Voicu´s last blog ..Review: HTC Hero =-.

  4. If I had to choose between staring at the screen in order to understand reCAPTCHA words and filling an adcaptcher word I’d go for the second one because it’s definitely easier.

    It’s very clear to me that by filling a captcha, I help it’s provider not to receive automatic responses. It’s also clear that for adcaptcher users there are also other benefits.

    I think this perspective perfectly makes sense. On the other hand, there are other perspectives such as open-id where captcha is out of the question.
    .-= Octav Druta´s last blog ..Looking in a mirror without using one =-.

    1. The biggest spam doesn’t come from the viagra bots, it comes from social networks, from real people. Check this article http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/myspace_captchas.php

      MySpace learned it, Facebook it’s close with Causes and friends requests. They’re already experimenting captchas, it’s just a matter of time till they’ll implement them.

      Captchas aren’t evil, they just have a bad implementation. I’m convinced that adcaptcher will solve this problem and will make captchas user friendly.

  5. Geez Dragos, you are sooooo kind that you share all this with us. I just clicked the link and am going over to check it out. I read your posts on blogging and realize that I am a preschooler and you are someone with a Ph.D. I wish I knew even a fraction of what you know. You must have a genius I.Q. One of these people who just looks at text book and knows everything in it. I am not only a VERY slow reader but compared to you technically I am living in the stone age. You would not believe how MANY of your posts I have printed out so I can try and learn more. So thank you again for sharing this. Hugs, Robin

  6. Thanks for this great gift. I remember a few weeks back when I first discovered this blog and I went to leave a comment, I saw your captcher and two things came to mind. First was wow text I can actually read and second was what a nice thought and I wondered how you did it. Now I know and thanks for sharing.
    .-= Carol King´s last blog ..OMG I Had a Customer =-.

  7. Your Captcha is great by the way. IT’s better than most I’ve seen.
    .-= Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com´s last blog ..Lessons From a Month of Meditation =-.

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