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CAPTCHA Alternatives

Spambots are smart. Apparently there's a lot of money in plastering comment threads with ads for counterfeit watches, penis pumps, etc. The CAPTCHA system we use on DNN to test for humans is pretty good and catches the vast majority of spambots. But it's not perfect, as we saw just today when someone vomited Ugg boots all over our site.

I'm thinking of switching over to a new, more interactive, sort of test, like one of the following:

http://sandbox.smullinstudios.com/slideLock_demo.php

http://www.webdesignbeach.com/beachbar/ajax-fancy-captcha-jquery-plugin

http://blog.lukeblackamore.com/2009/10/sexy-captcha-new-drag-and-drop-ca...

Anyone have any thoughts? The main downside of all of these is that they require javascript to be enabled in the browser. Other parts of DNN already require javascript (like the Scores page), so it's not a dealbreaker.

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Q&A

For a forum I administer (phpBB) I use Q&A as spambot countermeasure. Even with captcha I had new registrations by spammers every day. Since I switched to Q&A with a handful of derby related questions like: "How many stars are on a Jammer's helmet cover?" no more spammers have showed up.

reCaptcha

I really like reCaptcha, its a Google product used to transcribe old book for Google books. It works well in my opinion.

http://www.google.com/recaptcha

Time Loop

Back in the day, I added a timed loop in PHP to my script forms which would test for the time the form was opened and add it as a hidden variable then tested to see if it took longer than the fastest human to fill out my form.

Most bots fill out forms in two seconds or less. I think I set most of my contact forms to 45 seconds. If you took less than 45 seconds to fill out a form, I returned a note saying the user typed to fast - try again. Killed my bots without using CAPTCHA at all. I'm sure there are other innovative ways to kill bots.

Back in the day

Spamming the article about our efforts to improve anti-spam measures is so meta. Let's spamprove it. - Editor