Aside from the occasional troll on the web, what would you consider the most annoying thing about the internet to be? For many people, including us, it’s the dreaded CAPTCHA. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the obnoxious security measure comprised of jumbled letters and numbers smushed together to verify whether or not you’re actually a human. Detroit startup Are You A Human is trying to put an end to these frustrating exercises by replacing them with something else; a PlayThru game. To learn more about this, we discuss how to end the CAPTCHA madness with Are You A Human Co-Founder Reid Tatoris in this week’s TM Podcast.

Killing bots one game at a time

Example of Captcha
Example of a CAPTCHA

Are You A Human believes the purpose of the CAPTCHA, while noble, is not the right way to authenticate an internet user’s humanity. Instead, after an unsuccessful attempt to buy Hannah Montana tickets due to bots buying them all (true story!), AYAH founder Tyler Paxton decided  something needed to be done. What Paxton, along with Tatoris did was develop the idea for their CAPTCHA alternative.

The solution developed by AYAH was a simple game for users to play instead of having to decipher illegible letters, numbers and symbols. According to Tatoris, websites that switch to PlayThru games from CAPTCHAs see a 40 percent increase in conversions. He said that the company has done studies on how users perceive Playthru games versus CAPTCHAs and while both take about the same amount of time, users feel like the latter takes longer. This is why many sites see a drop off on pages featuring the old school security measure.

Another benefit of using AYAH’s games is that they are more secure and defend against bots better than the standard CAPTCHA. The startup actually tracks how users play its games and if it realizes a bot has made it through, AYAH updates its algorithm to improve the games’ security. The Are You A Human games are also compatible with nearly all websites, which makes adding it to your site a breeze. 

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One response to “Are You A Human: Detroit’s CAPTCHA Alternative

Posted by Ben Aarons

Seems like a good idea, in theory, but the UX is awkward, at best. Highly questionable security when, if you play the math out, the games are simply solved with a variety of attack vectors.

Posted on March 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm

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