A CAPTCHA sorts humans from spambots. CAPTCHAs work on the theory that some tasks are relatively simple for humans to solve while being difficult for machines to solve. Typical CAPTCHAs present an obfuscated word to the user, who is then expected to type that word into a text box. Get the word right, and you’ve verified your humanity, so you may continue along your merry way. Get it wrong, and you’ve failed to prove that you’re a human. In this case, from the perspective of the website, you’re no different than a spambot. How delightful.
CAPTCHAs were first invented by researchers at the now defunct AltaVista search engine. In recent years, this technique has been made popular by CMU researchers Luis von Ahn and Manuel Blum who sold their solution, reCAPTCHA, to Google in 2009.
But sometimes those twisty letters are so tricky to decipher you just want to punch the screen. Needless to say that from an accessibility standpoint, they rate very poorly.
SwipeAds co-founder Matthew Ford has made it his company’s mission to rid the web of these twisted words, and he doesn’t mind leaving money on the table to reach that goal.
“Getting rid of ugly, twisty CAPTCHAs is more important to us than making a quick buck, so we’re cutting all our fees down to zero for as long as we can,” says Ford.
SwipeAds offers another category of CAPTCHA to website owners, as Ford explains: “Instead of solving twisty letters, we use something that humans are even better at, and that’s playing games and recognising visual patterns.”
FunCaptcha presents a very short game to the user. The game involves image recognition coupled with some action the user needs to perform. For example, the game might ask the user to select a picture of a woman from a set of eight photos, and to drag that picture to the middle of the FunCaptcha widget. The concept and business was first pitched at Startup Weekend Brisbane in November last year. The team won first prize at that event, and have since gained coverage by game site Polygon and NBC. Last night, SwipeAds also won through to the finals of Creative3 RiverPitch.
Is FunCaptcha secure? Apparently so.
“We’ve had security experts look at our site, and tell us our solution is very secure, but we will never stop working on the security aspect of the technology,” said Ford.
In an effort to convert customers from other spam-prevention solutions, SwipeAds is offering free customisation to users for a limited time, so that the FunCaptcha widget better integrates into the design of the host website. The logo and colour scheme can be changed to match the web site’s own scheme, and custom content can be shown to the user before and after the puzzle is solved.
According to SwipeAds, the sooner a customer signs up to FunCaptcha, the better their chances of securing the free customisation services currently on offer.
“Humanity, you can thank us later,” said Ford. “Spambots, you can die in a fire.”
Visit https://www.funcaptcha.co/offer/ to register your interest in the free customisation offer.