TicketMaster Dumps CAPTCHA Verification, When Will Others Follow Suit?


Maybe it’s a small victory, but I’m still cheering nonetheless: TicketMaster has ditched CAPTCHA for an easier verification solution from New York startup Solve Media.

Now, if only others would get a clue.

Developed at Carnegie Mellon University in 2000, CAPTCHA (“completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart”) has gone on to prominence as one of the most universally despised facets of modern life. While companies need to make sure users logging in or registering for accounts are genuine human-beings and not robots, these crazy symbols or stylized letters are just too clever for their own good. I bet they foil as many, if not more, actual people than the dreaded bots.

“It is generally speaking the one of the most hated pieces of user interaction on the web,” says user experience expert Aaron Young. “The major problem with them is that it’s not unusual for several attempts to be needed…so when people see them again on different websites they have negative expectations.”

Solve Media’s answer to the problem lies in banishing ridiculous phrases like “tormentis harlory” (isn’t that one of Dumbledore’s spells?) and using either more common language, such as “freezing temperatures,” or multiple choice questions, among other factors.

Honestly, anything’s better than guessing at a jumbled cacophony of pseudo-letters forming esoteric or altogether made-up words over and over until the system freezes you out. If it came down to it, I’d rather hook up a USB blood sampling kit to prove my humanity, just to be done with it. Luckily that may not be required, as TicketMaster’s test of Solve’s system is going pretty well.

Overall, TicketMaster users take an average of 14 seconds to pass CAPTCHA verification, but Solve’s system only takes them seven seconds to complete. The company reports higher levels of customer satisfaction, and as far as security goes, the results look positive.

Have you ever come across any crazy CAPTCHAs? Do you stick with it until you get it (or the system locks you out), or move on to a competitor with simpler verification?