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How important is reCAPTCHA for preventing spam?

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Whispir Team


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19 Nov 2018
3 min read
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ReCAPTCHA is something we're all exposed to as we trawl through the internet on a daily basis. The “I’m not a robot” button can make us all think at some point in time, “What is the point of this?”

The reason why ReCAPTCHA is a prevalent tool in online submission forms is to prevent spam and abuse from entering the site. CAPTCHA isn’t a cute way of saying “Got ya!” to those bots, it’s actually an acronym: "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”. Neat, huh?

What does CAPTCHA do?  

CAPTCHA prevents any spam or bots from entering data into fields on your site. This can include fake comments on posts, emails, fraudulent transactions, contact form entries and fake registration submissions. 

CAPTCHA comes in many different forms. You can find them as a text-based puzzle, an image-based puzzle or the standard “I’m not a robot” ReCAPTCHA. These are simple and easy to complete tasks that can withstand your site from being inundated with bots. 

ReCAPTCHA is owned by Google. It uses advanced techniques, with the latest version being able to filter out suspicious visitors without the need for a manual puzzle being solved. They look through your history of entering ReCAPTCHA in the past on your IP address and offer clues that can determine whether you’re a bot or not. 

Is ReCAPTCHA actually effective? 

If your site has a form without a CAPTCHA button, you may receive a high influx of spam submissions. This can be annoying, but here are actually a few other consequences that you can face without a CAPTCHA. Such include:

  • Higher transaction fees and/or rates

  • Stricter security protocols for your account

  • Potential account suspension or termination

Of course, there is always a negative side. The forms can be a hassle to fill out, especially the puzzles. Almost 33% of the time, any three users can’t understand the puzzle itself. A puzzle CAPTCHA takes an average of ten seconds to complete, which can cause the user on the site to lose interest or gain frustration. This is prevalent when the CAPTCHA is incorrect more than once, which has been proven to cause a users to leave the site altogether.

Do I need reCAPTCHA?

If your site is often inundated with bots and you're sick of spam entries in your mailbox, then yes, you should signup for CAPTCHA. Google suggests that the new version provides higher security than the original, as well as a better user experience through (mostly) skipping the need to solve a puzzle. Considering the software can be added easily without incurring costs, adding reCAPTCHA is a simple and easy way to prevent your inbox from filling up with generic SEO proposal emails. 

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