Solve a problem: let’s make what shows up in CAPTCHA forms easy to read. And while we’re at it, let’s make some money by turning the space CAPTCHAs take up into advertising.

Just how much do you hate those little password forms you need to fill out all over the Internet? CAPTCHA is important and annoying all at once, and forget the interruption; more often than not, you can hardly read the squiggly little passwords.

CAPTCHA is important because without it people who run web sites would be so overwhelmed with SPAM they’d have no time to do anything else. Seriously, the problem is that bad; software robots are out prowling the Internet looking for places to drop off-topic comments all the time, and even at a site like this one—where we get “just” a few thousand visitors a month—we’d need to contend with tens of thousands of bogus messages if we didn’t put up some kind of roadblock to stop them.

At the same time, CAPTCHA is annoying. The time it takes to fill out a CAPTCHA form is bad enough, but add in that the words showing up in them are disguised to fool the robots that are smart enough to work through them and read regular text (yes, that’s really the reason they look like that!) and CAPTCHA becomes a big problem. Sure, the machines can’t read them, but a lot of times humans can’t, either.

So what if instead of text, the CAPTCHA you see on a web site was a little movie and the response you needed to enter was revealed in that movie? SolveMedia asked that question, and came up with a way to make it happen.

There’s good and bad to this, of course. SolveMedia claims that people can interact with the new kind of CAPTCHA form more quickly, but ask yourself: can it really be faster to click “Play” and pick out the message that shows up in the movie than to decipher squiggly lines? Sometimes, sure. But consistently? Maybe not. Oh: and what happens when the movie itself gets delayed as it streams across the Internet?

That’s the bad. The Good? More advertising.

Umm, yeah, I just called advertising “good”.

Other than when it’s entertaining, most of us see advertising as anything but good. But advertising serves a purpose. Most people don’t want to pay for the content they get, and if a company spends money to deliver content they need to recoup that money somewhere. Advertising solves that problem.

But on the Internet, advertising is pretty easy to ignore. Well, when you need to watch a commercial to get embedded information from it, like a password for a CAPTCHA form, everyone wins. Advertiser’s messages actually get seen, and you get that password.

The question is whether this will REALLY work. Maybe you won’t click the ad, thereby not interacting with a web site as you were ready to when there was a slightly-hard-to-read password already in your face. Or maybe you will click it, the password will pop up immediately (not 15 or 20 seconds in) and because you’ve watched just three seconds of a thirty second commercial you won’t really “see” it.

But I like this. It’s a business change that makes sense, or at least it should.

Want to see SolveMedia’s new CAPTCHA in action? Just click here. Well, OOPS! The SolveMedia CAPTCHA created so much SPAM on this web site that after spending about a week working with the employee there who wrote the software, he advised us to stop using their software. So apologies, it’s not here any more; we’re back to a standard text-based CAPTCHA.

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