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Don’t get caught out with a dodgy CAPTCHA

  • 6th February 20146/02/14
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So what is a CAPTCHA?

CAPTCHA is an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”.

It’s that list of letters, a sum or some other means of testing that you go through when on a website to ensure they know you are a human.

An example of this is above.

Where do you find a CAPTCHA?

You’ll find you will generally be asked to complete a CAPTCHA when filling out a form to submit an enquiry, to sign up or register for something or to enter a competition.

The form is doing exactly what it says on the tin; it wants to ensure that the person filling it out is a human with a valid enquiry rather than a spammer who will inundate their inbox or potentially corrupt their website.

Why might you need a CAPTCHA on your website?

If you haven’t already got a CAPTCHA attached to a form on your website, the usual incentive is because your email inbox is being consistently spammed.

You will be receiving a high number of emails from the form from spammers rather than human beings.

What do you need to be considering?

If you are receiving a large number of emails from a form on your website there are a few things you should be bearing in mind:

  1. Is the volume of emails you’re receiving prohibitive?  Is it having an impact on you being able to address enquiries or quickly filling up your inbox to capacity?  The level at which spam emails become an issue will vary from user to user – it could be 20 – 50 a day, for others it could be north of a hundred.
  2. Having answered the above, does the means justify the cost?  If your website is developed by a web design company find out how much it would cost to add some sort of spam protection to your site.  Once you have that figure back from them, reevaluate your responses to question one.  Is it value for money?
  3. You’ll also need to weigh up the visual impact of the CAPTCHA form on your website.  If you have paid large amounts to have a carefully, beautifully crafted website, what impact will adding a CAPTCHA have on that.  Add the answer to this question when weighing up if the means justify the costs.
  4. Also consider what impact the CAPTCHA will have on your user journey and also how easy it is to use.  If your forms have been designed to be easy and quick to use what impact will adding a CAPTCHA form be having on that process?  It is also worth noting that a large number of CAPTCHA solutions can take more than one try for the user to get correct due to them being illegible.  Think about the frustrations of the user and if you implement CAPTCHA keep a close eye on the number of enquiries you are receiving to ensure its not impacting on lead generation.

Conclusion

CAPTCHA can be very effective in avoiding your email box steadily filling with a pile of spam emails.  Its implementation should however not be a kneejerk one – think carefully about why you need it and if it is adding or detracting value from your site.

Keep a close eye on the impact it has – you don’t want it fishing out good quality leads with the rubbish spam.

For more information on how MiHi Digital can help your website perform please give us a call on 01566 784860 or email hello@mihidigital.co.uk  

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