Six alternatives to using the dreaded Captcha images

Sometimes in life things that seem sensible in theory don’t always work out in practice.

Communism and Captcha images are two obvious examples, and it’s the latter that I wish to focus on in this post.

Captcha is designed to be an effective way of validating things like applications, purchases and comments. Basically any online form that a crook or spammer might try to trick for personal gain.

Unfortunately it can also harm the user experience by causing untold frustration for people trying to decipher the random jumble of letters and symbols.

So here are six different alternatives to the dreaded Captcha images.

And by the way, I’m fully aware that I’m on shaky ground here bearing in mind our own process for posting blog comments, and this is something we’re looking to improve. 

How to be a spammer: five golden rules

Disclaimer: I have been instructed by our marketing department, that I must put a disclaimer before this blog, just in case someone takes what I am saying seriously and actually follows this advice.

I and the company I work for (RedEye), accept no responsibility for damages caused by anyone following the advice below. The actions below would not even be carried out by specially trained professionals, so should certainly not be tried at home!

You have been warned….  

“Spam” is like a dirty word in the world of email marketing. No credible email marketer wants to be associated with it. However, there has been some talk lately insinuating email marketers are not sending enough emails and suggesting that if they send more, they’ll make more money.

I’ve even seen some theoretical figures quoted that suggest if you send to your list twice as many times, you could make twice as much money!

Apparently, email marketers are worried about over mailing their lists, upsetting their customers and being accused of being spammers. The problem is that while this line of thinking is going to upset many an email marketer, it’s also admittedly a bit of a temptation.

When the chips are down and the CEO is breathing down your neck for more sales, the thought of more emails equals more money starts to look rather appealing.

So, for anyone considering the spam approach, I’ve pulled together some tongue in cheek rules on how to be a spammer in the modern email world.

Pinterest: a spammer’s newest best friend?

Pinterest may be one of the hottest start-ups of the moment, but early adopters, brands, bloggers and members of the media aren’t the only ones paying attention to the service’s growth.

Spammers are pinterested in the online pinboard too, and are apparently making a mint because of it.

Should you use domain registration privacy protection?

Thanks to spammers, making your email address visible on the web can be a painful mistake. Spammers, of course, often harvest email addresses using automated programs, and when doing so, they pick off the lowest hanging fruit.

One particularly tasty piece of fruit: the WHOIS database that provides access to domain registration information.

In response, many domain name registrars offer private domain registrations. With a private registration, the registrar’s contact information is displayed instead of yours, leaving it harder for spammers (and shady direct marketers) to use WHOIS for nefarious purposes.