Instead of using warped text to verify site visitors are human, PlayThru gives them a little game to play. More effective and more fun, the product also offers new advertising potential.

Web users will soon be seeing a new product replacing some of the security tools known as CAPTCHAs – the distorted images of text that many sites use to verify that the user is a human customer, not an automated program. CAPTCHAs irritate many Web users, and some startups have tried not only to make CAPTCHAs less annoying, but also to utilize them for branding purposes. CAPTCHAs startup called Are You a Human has created a different approach– using a quick and simple game in place of the manipulated text creates an alternative which is pleasant for visitors, beneficial for site owners, and can even generate revenue for advertisers. This product, called a PlayThru, runs in Flash or HTML5 and also works on mobile browsers. It has already been shown to increase form submissions by up to 40 percent compared to products like reCaptcha.

The CAPTCHA has cost brands some loss of customers

These CAPTCHA images have been the source of ire for many Web users, despite their use to combat bots that spam site users and owners, purchase tickets for concert scalpers, and other undesirable behaviors. As software gets more sophisticated, the CAPTCHAs (an acronym which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) get more difficult to decipher, and sites have seen customer loss due simply from the frustration of having to complete this step. A study showed a 3.2 percent loss from this practice. But PlayThrus are easier for humans to solve than CAPTCHAs, and more difficult for bots since they require image recognition and simple associations – catching butterflies with a net, or putting drinks in a cooler.

Costumizable CAPTCHAs for brands and higher security

Gamification turns user authorization into an entirely new process. Instead of the regular CAPTCHAs, users are asked to pick toppings to create a pizza, from a number of different objects (food items, shoes, paper…) For users, the process is more pleasant than before, possibly even fun. For site owners, they lose fewer visitors than with the previous product, and also have higher security. Advertisers can now enter this scene with100 percent interaction, since PlayThru can be customized to feature their products and must be used to proceed. Instead of just seeing a product in passing, customers use it in the game, benefiting interactivity. 

By Ivory King