A story on hatred for your users and fans
The other day I decided that I needed to invest (for free) in a good note-taking program for my Blackberry. After surfing the internet and reading reviews for the pathetic amount of choices available I settled on Evernote. After installing the program I was prompted to register. This makes sense since Evernote backs up your notes to a web server and makes them available anywhere, however there was one big flaw.
There was a captcha. And not just any captcha, but a captcha that didn’t seem to work. The doctors tell me I have pretty good eyesight, and this wasn’t a difficult looking jumble of characters but I still wasn’t allowed to register after 4 tries. So I didn’t. The glaring ridiculousness of this was staring at me and laughing. Here I was, on my Blackberry, not being allowed to use a program because I’m apparently not a human. (I am, by the way.)
There are two possible trains of thought that led to the inclusion of a captcha in this instance:
- Evernote thought that it was plausible for a bot to buy and register a Blackberry with internet service, navigate to the Evernote website, download it, and try to register it in an attempt to spam itself with private notes.
- Evernote was too lazy to make a separate sign-up for people coming from the mobile version of Evernote.
So which is it, friends? Regardless of the logic it was unnecessary. This is an extreme example, of course, as I usually see captchas on blogs and upload-friendly websites, but my sentiment is the same: There’s no need to annoy people with captchas with so many alternatives out there for spam prevention now. And that’s my gripe.
Here are some of those alternatives
- A simple question
My favourite! I know, it’s 2010, and asking a simple question sounds silly when you could have an image and a script that knows what the image says! But it’s much more user friendly. I’m sure you’ve seen it before, “5 + 2 =” and you fill in 7. Perfect!
- A plugin
Askimet is very good at catching spam on my blogs. There are other plugins that are apparently even better. Use them. This is only for blogging or CMS software but most places I see captchas are built on those platforms anyway.
- Manual spam-checking
I know. You’re too busy. You get a whole 1,000 hits per month on your blog and a few of them are spam and you can’t be bothered. Come on. If you have a low to moderately trafficked website it’s not too much trouble to ask you to go through your to-be-moderated comments and check them out every few days.
Or do you hate me?
Because I’ll tell you, for every 3 captchas I come across I’ll fail one of them. And leave.
Do you agree? (You should.) Am I being a whiner? (I’m not.) Do you have any other alternatives that you’ve seen work?