Unreadable Captchas Can Destroy Your Business

I admit I can be a social media junkie. I say “can be” because there are only so many hours in a day and I like to network offline as much I do online. I also like to stay on top of new emerging networks and tools. So, when I saw a report on marketing charts claiming Twitter, Tagged & Ning posted the highest year-over-year growth among social networks I was intrigued.

The main reason being that I’m relatively active on Twitter and have opened up a network on Ning. But Tagged I had not engaged in. I had heard of the network, so finding out that people were actually using it excited me. I went over to open my account and ran into a problem. The captcha image is practically unreadable. I tried and tried and tried – no luck. I’ve even posted the last few I tried, just to prove it to you. Let me know if you can read it:

An unreadable captcha undercuts everything you’ve ever done to build your business. I understand the reason to use it and support the concept. However, some of the captcha’s out there seem to be so good, that not only do they keep the crawlers out but humans too. After spending all that time and marketing dollars and sweat to attract visitors to your site, and then losing these potential customers because of the readability of your captchas is dumb – pure and simple. To put it mildy, making your captcha so difficult to read that it makes humans flee is not something you want to do. If you disagree with me then you’re in the wrong business.

I challenge you the web marketer or webmaster – keep the visitor in mind as you implement your captcha.  Keep it simple. Don’t get to fancy and try to be creative. Sometimes just asking a common question like “what color is the sky?” works! Have a list of 5-7 such questions and rotate them. Or, better yet use a captcha that serves up a fun word or concept – something people can say out loud and makes them smile. It leaves a good impression about your business as they enter the website. Don’t you want a smiling customer?

As far as Tagged is concerned, now that I think about it, I’m not sure I want to join. They don’t seem to want me.

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