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Sponsored Spam Fighting! CAPTCHAs Emerge as Latest Tool for Online Advertisers

Sponsored Spam Fighting! CAPTCHAs Emerge as The Latest Tool for Online Advertisers

Each day 142 “man years” are spent solving CAPTCHAs, a test many Web sites use to help ensure responses are coming from people and not generated by a computer. That calculation is based on the fact that, on average, a user spends 14 seconds to review and enter a response, multiplied by 280 million, the number of times CAPTCHAS are used per day across the Web.

That’s a huge number of focused viewers and New York based Solve Media is capitalizing on these eyeballs. The company has created TYPE-INs, a new form of advertising built into a CAPTCHA system. Solve Media’s TYPE-IN platform provides an alternative to the traditional CAPTCHA, where instead of completing hard-to-read CAPTCHA authentications, users on the Solve Media network prove they are human by simply typing in easy to read brand messages.

CAPTCHA Advertising

The company claims its TYPE-IN ads result in a 1200% greater message recall and deliver a 111% increase in brand recall.

Will these new variations keep spammers and cybercriminals away? CAPTCHAs have been relatively effective, but are far from perfect. Cybercriminals are always looking for the next way to crack CAPTCHA systems and have even organized “CAPTCHA Armies,” groups of low wage workers that sit and solve CAPTCHAs all day, at a going rate of $2.00 per thousand solved. One example is “” – an India based company that provides the services, and even has an API to easily keep the data flowing and in out as spammers and cybercriminals work their way across the Web. Dancho Danchev at ZDNet wrote a great piece on the CAPTCHA economy in India.

Advertisers and Publishers love the new platform. For marketers, Solve Media campaigns offer high-level engagement, awareness and recall. What’s a better way to be remembered than to actually type a marketers message or slogan? "In the past, guaranteeing online audience attention has been a challenge. Through a simple interface, and a desirable value exchange, Solve Media's platform has cracked the code to deliver engagement with no wasted inventory," said Chad Stoller, EVP Digital Strategy, BBDO.

Publishers love the technology, as it’s an additional revenue opportunity that doesn’t cut into existing inventory and is easy to setup.

While consumers may think of this as another “in your face” marketing tactic, hats off to the folks at Solve Media on an innovative solution that is sure to be a success in the digital media space. The idea is great and good luck to them as they combat hackers and cybercriminals looking to target their platform as they grow.

A video explaining Resolve Media's CAPTCHA Advertising platform is below.


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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.