Friday, December 3, 2010

Zappos.com fends off robot spammers by offending humans

Posted By on Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Spambots suck.
  • Spambots suck.

The term "captcha" is an acronym that stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." When you fill in fields on a website in order to leave a comment on a blog (like this one) or to share a link with friends, you will sometimes be asked to decipher a squiggly, distorted code before you can hit "send."

It's annoying -- especially if you're dyslexic -- but captchas are supposed to help prevent robot spammers and viral programs from hijacking content or otherwise exploiting a website. Still, sometimes you can't help but think, there's gotta be a better way. Especially when the automated text-generators end up inadvertently spelling something funny or rude, which happens more than you'd think. It happened to me yesterday morning when I tried to send a link to a pair of shoes on Zappos.com to a friend. I took a picture of the screen. Check it after the jump:

Who, me?
  • Who, me?


Yeah, that's right. Need a closer look?

Ahem!
  • Ahem!
Somebody at Zappos.com ought to look into switching to numerical captchas before they piss off the gays -- a very desirable lot for marketers -- or acquire new fans among the crazed members of a notorious little church in Topeka. 

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