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What's more annoying and contextually irrelevant than the text in a captcha - those squiggly, gibberishy words and phrases you have to type to authenticate an online log-in? A start-up, Solve Media, thinks it's found a solution: replace gobbeldygook captcha text with an ad.
Solve's TYPE-INTM advertising platform launches today. The company claims it "guarantees brand message delivery and increases recall rates and return on investment for advertisers; creates new revenue opportunities for publishers; and simpliﬁes the authentication process for consumers." Toyota, Microsoft, Universal Pictures, AOL, Tribune, and Meredith Publishing are on board as clients already. Because advertisers pay not for impressions but for correctly entered text, the company claims higher retention and impact, and a 40% engagement rate versus one percent for the typical display ad.
It's true that the text in these units is infinitely more legible than that in your typical captcha - and thus enhances user experience. but it must also be pointed out that user engagement with the ads is of necessity, not relevance, intent to purchase, or other advertising benchmarks. Still, for brand advertisers, these units may prove a worthwhile way to drive home a slogan or ad recall. The units also create a new category of inventory for online publishers.