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I hate Captchas

 

I have a love/hate relationship with CAPTCHAs. I love to block spam, (who doesn’t?), but I hate CAPTCHAs. My nemesis is the CAPTCHA that Amazon Kindle Books taunts me with as a punishment when I can’t get my password to work. And the thing is, I’ve never been able to get the Amazon CAPTCHA to work.

I’m usually pretty good with that type of thing, so I find myself wondering if anyone else can get it to work. I usually end up so frustrated that I pay them back by calling Amazon to talk with a human. You know, one they have to pay.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that with the ever-increasing proliferation of bot spam on our comments and forms, we have to take some action. Anti-Spam plugins have fought the good fight with some of the spam in comments and contact forms, and until recently, CAPTCHAs have been the next line of defense in that fight.

But now, the bots have learned to game the system, while humans such as myself have lost patience with the “CAPTCHA experience.”  What’s more, CAPTCHA presents impossible barriers to people with vision and hearing problems.

It seems that everyone was having trouble with them – except the bots. So, in recent years, Google announced the death of the CAPTCHA. And then, they introduced an alternative, the reCAPTCHA.

ReCAPTCHA v2 is the “I’m not a robot” checkbox that you surely have seen on your forays around the Internet.

I'm not a robot CAPTCHA

Google has taken it one step further and created an invisible version, reCAPTCHA v3, that doesn’t even show up!

We don’t need to decipher mangled blurbs of text to prove that we’re not bots any longer.  Google is now able to derive evidence of our humanity from such things as our IP addresses and cookies and has astutely determined that only a human would be buying dog toys at Chewy.com.

Last week, a few days after we launched a new website, the owner of the website requested that I add a CAPTCHA to her forms since some spam entries were coming through the forms we’d created using the Gravity Forms plugin.

I decided this was an opportunity to try the visible reCaptcha2, “I’m not a robot” checkbox. That way she’d have proof that we’d uploaded the CAPTCHAs to her forms.

It took about ten minutes total to add the “I’m not a robot” checkbox to four Gravity forms.

Here’s what we did:

  1. Go to Google’s reCaptcha page and sign up for a free reCAPTCHA API account for the domain of the site where you want to use the reCAPTCHA.Google reCaptcha API
  2. You’ll be given two strings of characters, the Site Key, and the Secret Key.
  3. Site Key and Secret KeyNavigate to Forms on your website’s dashboard.
  4. At the bottom of the Gravity Forms General Settings page, you’ll see the reCAPTCHA area with fields to enter the Site and Secret API keys that you got from the Google reCAPTCHA API page.

Gravty Forms General Settings
5. Create a Gravity Form on the website. You’ll need to add a reCAPTCHA field that you’ll find on the Advanced fields tab. Simply drag the reCAPTCHA to the bottom of the form and Save.

Gravity Forms Advanced Fields

6. PRESTO! You’re done!

I'm not a Robot

What do you think about CAPTCHAs and reCAPTCHAS?

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Showing 5 comments
  • wayne
    Reply

    I’ve decided to just avoid sites using recaptcha entirely because they’re often unusable, and frustrating at best. I bet the idiocy repels far more real humans than what it lies and claims to, bots. I hear comments along the same line regularly and am even sometimes asked if I’m aware of alternatives without the nonsense, and that can be reached by us lowly mere mortals

    • Judi Knight
      Reply

      I haven’t had problems with the “I’m not a robot” Recapcha.

  • me
    Reply

    The visual ID process would be tolerable if the pictures were clear, if they let you know whether half of a street sign counts as a square with a street sign, and if ONE set of pictures came up. But they string together and change to cars, buses, trucks, etc.

  • Taza
    Reply

    Man, I thought I get to see a trick here to solve them faster or avoid them entirely.

    I loathe captchas, esp. the ones that want me to find what ever with felt never-ending reloading pictures… at the end I spent more time with the captcha than the actual shopping process. Captchas eat my precious time.
    I wrote hate mails to those shops, but the reply is always the same (sorry for the inconvenience – yeah as if).

    Out of desperation (I had a site that had me solving 10 captchas, I must be too stupid to find all the store fronts and signs and hills and buses) I tried audio captcha and was close to pleased with the english spoken numbers I had to type, even as non-native-english person.
    But those audio captchas got changed to gibberish that I don’t understand anymore and stresses me like repeating 5 rounds of traffic signs.
    And now audio captchas don’t work for me at all anymore, I get an error.

    I wish the person who invented it a captcha on their bathroom door and the toilet.

  • Ralph
    Reply

    If a site has a captcha, I move on. Not going to waste my time on that BS. It will be figured out eventually, and probably with a simple 2 step Q/A. Captcha developer nerds, my god… And I say this as a programmer myself. Assembly on a 6502 is were I started, doubt anyone will even know what that means. Also a degree in fine art, kinetics-robotics, that sort of thing.

    Captcha on their toilet is absolutely brilliant.

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