Why CAPTCHAs are bad for your website

By: John McGarvey

Date: 8 October 2012

If you want to find a way to immediately annoy potential customers and drive visitors away from your website, look no further than the humble CAPTCHA.

We've written about these squint-worthy, hard-to-interpret messed-up bits of text before, but today I stumbled upon one that goes beyond a joke.

It popped up this morning on the Ticketmaster website. I had a fair stab at the image on the right side, but I still have no idea what's going on with the left image. Any ideas at all?

Rubbish CAPTCHA{{}}

I'm convinced the days of the CAPTCHA are numbered. They're designed to guard against targeted hacking attempts and automated 'bots' that fill in online forms automatically.

But really, unless you're running some sort of super high security website, they cause far more problems than they solve.

When you've taken time to create a nice clear website that makes it really easy for people to buy from you or send you a message, then making them fill in a CAPTCHA is like asking them to complete a fiendish puzzle before they can go any further.

Imagine what would happen if the local corner shop asked you to solve a Rubik's Cube before letting you buy a pint of milk. Wouldn't get much custom, would they?

When you use CAPTCHAs on your website, you risk having the same effect.

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