<br/> Quick, what does the image above say?
If you answered jhQH4f, you’re wrong. jnQH4f? Wrong. jhQ44f? JhQA4f? Also wrong… at least according to the forum that required me to enter the correct code to prove that I’m not an evil spam-generating hacker robot. Apparently I’m more of a robot than I thought, because I have no idea what that fourth glyph is. I tried about 5 other combinations before giving up and reloading the page a couple of times until I found one I could read.
This is, of course, a CAPTCHA test, something that has lately joined spam, pop-up ads, browser bugs, and people who use the word “blogosphere” on my list of Things That Annoy Me About the Web. It’s supposed to prevent spammer scripts from registering, but I’m guessing tests this difficult prevent a good number of honest-to-goodness humans from accessing sites.
Coincidentally, a few minutes before running into this, I read Seth Godin’s post about running into the same problem at Ticketmaster’s site. At least I’m not alone.
Attention webmasters: If you want users to sign up, please don’t use a CAPTCHA system in your site unless it’s really easy for ordinary people to read without pulling the graphic into Photoshop for sharpening and enlargement. If you don’t want users to sign up, you could just remove the registration page rather than torturing people with one of these MENSA-level CAPTCHAs. Thanks for your time.