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Microsoft patents advert-based CAPTCHAs

Microsoft patents advert-based CAPTCHAs

Microsoft's latest patent is a reCAPTCHA-style system which requires users to view adverts to continue.

If you're of the opinion that you don't get enough opportunities to view adverts whilst doing your daily rounds of the web, rejoice: a patent application from Microsoft could be just what you're after.

As described by Fudzilla, the patent covers the novel creation of an advertising-themed CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) which could be integrated into websites in the place of existing systems such as the popular reCAPTCA.

Where the system differs is not in the overall aim - which is to prevent automated systems from spamming forums and webmail systems - but in the additional benefits: reCAPTCHA uses the opportunity of a captive audience to improve the accuracy of a single word which has been scanned and run through an OCR system in the creation of electronic books; Microsoft's patent pending system, on the other hand, attempts to ensure that a site visitor is really paying attention to your carefully targetted advertising.

Instead of a scrambled word which has to be typed accurately, visitors to sites running the system will be presented with pictures, musical jingles, or slogans. In order to pass the CAPTCHA, users will be asked to correctly name the featured product or provide some supplemental information from the advert.

From an advertising perspective, it's a neat trick: if the user wants to participate in the site, they have no choice but to fill in the CAPTCHA and consciously take note of the fact that Pepsi really is the taste of a new generation. With that sort of proof that visitors are not only visiting pages containing your advertising but actively looking at it, Microsoft's patent could generate a lot of interest.

From the perspective of your average web denizen, it's not so good a deal. CAPTCHAs are awkward, clumsy things made bearable only by the good they do - keeping spammers at bay - and by the fact that they take a mere handful of seconds to complete. If you're asked to sit through a fifteen-second sales pitch before you can prove you're human, it's going to be difficult to justify the time spent.

So far there is no indication from Microsoft as to where or when it plans to implement this technology.

Does the idea of an advertising-based CAPTCHA fill you with rage, or is it a neat idea for the site operators to get a bit of extra cash while keeping the spammers out? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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do_it_anyway 28th August 2009, 10:13 Quote
Grrrrrrrr!
I don't blame the marketers, they have to keep spammers at bay and it is a neat idea.
But its gonna be SOOO annoying.

I blame the spammers that force companies to use things like CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA
confusis 28th August 2009, 10:37 Quote
If i am visiting a website that requires me to do this - i will no longer visit the website. simple.
l3v1ck 28th August 2009, 10:43 Quote
So MS want to prevent spam on forums by spamming my web browsing experience with more adverts.
loner1994 28th August 2009, 11:00 Quote
i have a fealing that this will just trun people away from all sites that have these new captchas
robyholmes 28th August 2009, 11:05 Quote
Why don't they use random questions? They seem to be very good.
Abhorsen 28th August 2009, 11:51 Quote
Smart from the marketing perspective, will be met with anger from most else..
iwog 28th August 2009, 11:53 Quote
Microsoft are the anti Google.
"Don't be evil" vs "Be evil and milk consumers as much as possible"

What's so wrong with reCAPTCHA, it helps save our heritage by digitising old books?
TGImages 28th August 2009, 16:49 Quote
These concepts to keep spammers out is good. Twisting it to be yet another ad is bad. As has already been stated, I'll just stop using the site.

In fact a few sites I've been visiting for years, mainly niche topics, have recently gone to a pay for access model. About the same price as a cheap magazine subscription. My first thought was anger... but then I realized that the sites have good information (better than almost all others on the same topic), get lots of updates and the admins have worked diligently to keep it spam free. Plus the fact I do subscribe to a few paper magazines so why should I feel differently about a site that gives me the same "entertainment" or even more for a comparable price?

I see this model becoming more popular, especially for niche sites that don't want to get involved with ads and such.
Star*Dagger 29th August 2009, 11:47 Quote
Another example of how MBAs and anything computer should be kept far far apart!

Yours in Anti-Advertising Anti-Captcha Crap Plasma,
Star*Dagger
DarkLord7854 29th August 2009, 17:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by confusis
If i am visiting a website that requires me to do this - i will no longer visit the website. simple.

Ditto

Quote:
Originally Posted by iwog
Microsoft are the anti Google.
"Don't be evil" vs "Be evil and milk consumers as much as possible"


That's not true at all. Microsoft bring a lot of innovations to the market, they just don't always have the best way of implementing certain things on the first go-round, but they always refine their ideas to match what the consumers want more closely.
pendragon 31st August 2009, 02:47 Quote
wow.... that's utterly brilliant .. marketing genius if you ask me.... not that I'd enjoy such a thing however :) hopefully they refine it in such a way that it doesnt end up sucking
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