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The Pros and Cons of CAPTCHAs


I think everyone who uses the Internet knows what CAPTCHAs are; but basically, CAPTCHAs are distorted words, phrases, or symbols that people are much better at deciphering than a computer. As a result, CAPTCHAs are a useful tool in helping to determine if a user is a real person or machine.

What most people do not know is CAPTCHA is the abbreviation for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”. Even the full name of CAPTCHAs denotes their ability to differentiate between and computers.

Furthermore, most people do not know the full list of advantages and disadvantages of CAPTCHAs, so here goes.


The Advantages of CAPTCHAs
  1. Spam: The main advantage of CAPTCHAs is to help limit spam, especially from automated programs that send email, submit web forms such as forums, and create online accounts.
  2. Implementation: CAPTCHAs are also very easy to implement or add to an existing website. Thus making CAPTCHAs ideal for software developers to use.
The Disadvantages of CAPTCHAs
  1. Prevention: CAPTCHAs only limit spam and is unable to prevent spam completely. For instance, some spamming companies can easily hire hundreds of real people for less than a dollar a day to decode CAPTCHAs and submit spam.
  2. Technology: Supposedly, new software can already automatically decode CAPTCHAs at a more accurate rate and speed than people. Fortunately, this software, if it really exists, still has not become available to spammers yet. The most likely future of CAPTCHAs is to move away from distorting text and start distorting pictures for users to decode instead.
  3. Annoyance: CAPTCHAs are considered an annoyance by most people, however people do realize that CAPTCHAs are necessary. Otherwise, the Internet would be flooded with much more spam.
  4. Illegible: All too often, CAPTCHAs are not even readable to people.
  5. Vision: Visually impaired individuals cannot use CAPTCHAs, thus audio CAPTCHAs are starting to become more popular as an alternative. However audio CAPTCHAs are much harder to understand for most people.
  6. Traffic: When a website first starts using CAPTCHAs, they notice a considerably drop in traffic. And since traffic is money for websites, their companies are losing money when using CAPTCHAs.
As you can already determine, that advantages of using CAPTCHAs already greatly outweigh their disadvantages.

by Phil for Humanity
on 20131118

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