Are you using reCAPTCHA?

Screenshot 2016-03-08 15.16.28

Photo credit: Leading North East care supplier Prestwick Care

How do you defend against spam?

The main question surrounding including contact forms or other types of submission methods on your website is often “how will we deal with spam?”

Google attempted to answer this many years ago with reCAPTCHA, their own attempt at the CAPTCHA-system. In the original CAPTCHA system, a complicated string of letters and numbers was commonly presented to the user and they had to correctly type out the string into a text box before submission was allowed. The problem with this approach was that machines could be easily taught to overcome this system. This created something of a technological arms race between legitimate website owners and spammers or script-kiddies attempting to overcome their defences.

With version 2 of reCAPTCHA, Google attempts to be tough on bots but easy on humans. The new reCAPTCHA attempts to learn on the spot. At the click of a checkbox (always labelled ‘I’m not a robot’) A complicated algorithm (understandably kept secret) determines whether the user is truly not a spam-bot. The system not only prevents spam but attempts to enhance progress towards the future of technology, with Google claiming that the system helps machine-learning, digitising text and annotating images.

By using reCAPTCHA on your interactive forms, not only are you fighting back against spam, but you are furthering the future of technology and the internet itself.

Instead of providing contact forms, you can also give users of your website a direct contact email. An example of this is leading graphic & web design firm Sleeky Web Design whose contact page lists their email address in plain text. This allows users to more clearly see how to reach them quickly and efficiently. However, this approach does mean that spam-bots can easily collect your email address for usage in their relentless spam campaigns.

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