CAPTCH-AD: A New CAPTCHA Form of Advertising?



CAPTCHAs are a necessary evil in a modern world. CAPTCHAs, also known as those-annoying-boxes-with-the-weird-words, are used to prevent evil robot spam attacks.

Well the other days I came across a new, never-before-seen (at least by me) CAPTCHA that could have some pretty huge advertising implications.

Introducing, the CAPTCH-AD!

New CAPTCHA advertisement

CAPTCH-AD: The CAPTCHA Advertisement

What’s crazy about the CAPTCH-AD is that you are required to watch (and pay attentionto) the advertisement in order to fulfill the CAPTCHA box. There’s no getting around it – you will read that ad. It’s like when you see advertisements plastered over your tray table on budget airlines; you roll your eyes, groan, cover it with a book or a laptop, but there’s just no avoiding it and the ad demands acknowledgement.

It seems like a pretty brilliant (yet evil) idea, and I expect to be seeing more of them.

CAPTCHAs: Protecting us From Spam and Inspiring ArtDifficult CAPTCHA

CAPTCHA stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” Saying it aloud may make you feel like a beatboxer (say it five times fast).

CAPTCHAs are implemented to protect users from robot spam, but as computers get smarter, they become more convoluted and difficult for even the most human among us. They seem to become increasingly more difficult every year—the squiggly edges become a bit more squiggly, and the blurry parts become a bit more blurred. Often they are nearly impossible to discern, to the point where deciphering the words just becomes a crapshoot.

These silly guess-the-word-boxes are such a common and unsavory aspect of the online experience that they’ve become a part of internet culture through memes and CAPTCHArt—art created based of off the randomly generated words.

Some prime examples of CAPTCHArt:


Whether the newly discovered CAPTCH-ADs will destroy CAPTCHArt as we know it is yet to be discovered.

Have you seen a CAPTCHA advertisement in the wild? What do you think about them as an advertising technique, and how do you feel about them as an internet user?

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Jeff Downer Indianapolis, IN
Mar 29, 2012

Aww jeez.   There are some marketing and advertising techniques that make me an automatic no way, no how to the product or service..   Whispering and slurpy noises on TV and telemarketing for example.  I'm adding this one to the list.

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 29, 2012

Agreed, I really hate this idea!

Mar 29, 2012

If done in a creative, unique way I would love these. CAPTCHAs are frustrating, but often there is no way around them. Why not make them at least somewhat interesting?Reminds me of VW's "Fun Theory" series. Take boring parts of life, walking up stairs, throwing trash away, and make them fun....Ironically enough to leave this comment there is a standard CAPTCHA.

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 29, 2012

It's kind of a shame, all the creativity that gets funneled into advertising.Yep! What are you gonna do? We have to deal with enough spam at it is, unfortunately.

Megan Marrs
Mar 29, 2012

Good point Luke. At least the ad CAPTCHAs are readable.

sara ridberg
Mar 29, 2012

this is pure genius--I have seen these around and this makes SO much sense for branding

Jim Bath
Apr 02, 2012

It's a clever idea for brands, begin with, at least. Personally - as someone who's studied it, but also seen a hell of a lot of it - I've become so immune to advertising that it no longe rhas any effect on me. I don't particularly like the idea, but if it catches on, I'll live with it.

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