reCAPTCHA: Stop Spam, Read Books

Recently I noticed that we had roughly 6,800 spam blog comments awaiting approval. As much as I'd like to read nearly 7,000 entries about Viagra and someone's dead Brazilian father who left them $2 million of which I can have half if I just help them access the money, I simply don't have that kind of time. So I've added a reCAPTCHA tool to our blog's comment area. reCAPTCHA is a variation on the common CAPTCHA tool, which helps Web forms distinguish between human users and computer users (a.k.a. spammers). You've encountered a CAPTCHA if you've seen something that looks like this on a Web site registration form:


Well, reCAPTCHA is similar except that when you enter these funky words into a reCAPTCHA module, you're helping to digitize books. According to the reCAPTCHA Web site, about 60 million CAPTCHA words are entered every day. Since computers have difficulty "reading" scanned text to make it truly digital, reCAPTCHA presents Web form users with two digital words - one it knows and one it needs your help with. It uses the one it knows to validate that you're a human user and the one it doesn't know to add a new digitized word to the book.

Visit this site for more information about how reCAPTCHA works, and click "Comments" below to try it out!