CAPTCHA Codes, Now With Ad Slogans

A company called Solve Media is rolling out a new CAPTCHA interface that requires you type in an ad slogan instead of a nonsense word, reports AdAge. Advertisers are looking for message comprehension,” says the company’s owner, “And you know what they say, ‘If you write something down, you remember it.'” And if you force a customer to repeat your slogan during an unrelated transaction, does he resent you for it?

AdAge says these slogan-bearing CAPTCHAs have been out in beta form for most of the year now, but Solve Media officially released the product to advertisers this week.

“Say Hello to CAPTCHAs as Advertising” [AdAge]


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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I hate America.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      I hate rampant advertising,

    • XianZomby says:

      I expect advertising anywhere I find value, but where I either pay nothing or clearly do not pay enough to support the value I am getting. This includes websites, television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

      Viewing advertising is my payment for getting goods at no dollar cost to me, or at a dollar cost to me that is not enough to support what I take.

      Why people expect everything in life should be free?

      • Conformist138 says:

        But how many ads are TOO many ads? It has a breaking point. this is a level of obnoxious that would, for me, decrease the value of what I was trying to get. Odds are, there’s nothing out there worth signing up for where this wouldn’t turn me off completely. With all the options out there, I can find the same thing for free on a site that doesn’t demand I repeat corporate slogans. I’m waiting for captchas that make people type out Bible verses and shit, cuz clearly they’re no longer using these to filter bots- they also want to influence the humans.

  2. danmac says:

    If I type “fuck you” into the ad box, that’s pretty good evidence I’m human, right?

  3. TC50327 says:

    How about we start answering with “Fuck you spammer asshole” until they stop using these?

    • Griking says:

      That’s fine but in the mean time you won’t be able to access whatever site it was that you were trying to log in or post to.

  4. shepd says:

    While disgusting, I have to hand it to them: this is absolutely ingenious.

    • fredbiscotti says:

      I thought the same thing. Whoever came up with this is going to be rich, if not because of the bonus, then because it’s worth so goddamned much.

      • DariusC says:

        Probably initially praised, but I guarantee bots will eat them up quick. There is a reason we type in nonsense words…

        Still, I wouldn’t mind if consumerist used it on their flag for review reports… I have to type that shit like 5 times to get it right!!!!

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Brilliant, and I can’t imagine why it wasn’t done before. Of course, it makes me want to vomit, but I can control myself.

      Nothing, apparently, is too gauche for the cast-iron stomach of a tone-deaf advertising executive.

    • Talisker says:

      I was actually thinking “diabolical”. My reaction was like James Bond’s reaction when he realized what Goldfinger was really up to.

  5. nbs2 says:

    On the positive side, at least they will be legible.

    Of course, just because I can read, type and remember a slogan is no reason for me to shop there. I know where I can go for food, folks and fun – and I don’t go there.

  6. Rocket says:

    How is this secure? Can’t a bot just detect the logo, and then enter the slogan?

    • Shadowfax says:

      Probably. Eventually anyway. But the slogan is embedded into a video, and computers have a tougher time deciphering elements of video than they do isolating elements of a still image.

      • rjaguar3 says:

        The problem is that new problems cannot be generated on the fly: once it is clear that there are a small number of messages, a bot can easily be programmed to generate the correct answer from detect which message it is.

        • Shadowfax says:

          The message remains constant. Only the supered caption within the video changes.

          But if you can program this, let me know. I’ll be happy to use it ;)

          • rjaguar3 says:

            Sure, here’s the pseudocode:

            Detect message signature (what does this message look like in general, is it a brand X video or a brand Y video or whatever)
            Is message signature found?
            NO: Alert human, have human solve problem, add information to database.
            YES: Look up directions for how to find slogan in message. Apply to this video and enter the slogan generated.

            And if the video is mostly constant bar some watermark, then a programmer can determine the base video by taking multiple instances of each video and within each frame, choosing for each pixel the color that appears most often. Once this baseline is determined, you can compare the given video to the baseline to determine what has changed, and then from there, it’s easy to see any new text that is created.

            • BobOki says:

              Add in detection of logo file size and hash it. Even videos will display the same video and have the same hash/filesize. Start a small database online, done.

    • jessjj347 says:

      No, not unless there was some metadata that said exactly what’s in the image.

  7. Cantras says:

    I would look at that and assume there was some obnoxious pop-over ad on the screen. haaate.

    • jessjj347 says:

      Yeah, there have been studies done where even something the company designed for their own website is skipped over because it is assumed to be an ad

  8. ElizabethD says:

    Do not want!!! I like the random Captchas that spell out (unintentionally?) silly things or combinations.

  9. ap0 says:

    I wish I thought of this.

    I know no one likes advertising, but so much stuff online is ad-supported and with ad revenues dropping, it might be the thing that ekes out that extra bit of revenue to keep a website afloat. However, I think having to type in a slogan/brand on a CAPTCHA will have the effect of annoying people and associating that brand with annoying Turing tests, so who knows how long it’ll last?

  10. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It’s been out in beta for a year and is now officially released.

    So…. apparently website owners will accept the security risks for pennies per click.

  11. brianary says:

    Spamming the user to save yourself from spam. It’s the circle of life.

  12. OmniZero says:

    It amazes me that companies make money now-a-days with all the damned advertising they do…

  13. grapedog says:

    even if they can’t detect the logo, they could just spam slogans into the captcha box. unless of course, the captcha people use slogans, and then mess with them as well, to make it harder for bots to pick up on it.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Good point, that. How many slogans can Toyota generate about itself that are complimentary, legal, short, memorable, and inoffensive? It can’t be a huge number. I mean, just in order to get to the thousands, they’d have to include things like “Things go better with Toyota,” “Toyota – Ask Why,” “Toyota – Beyond Petroleum,” and “Toyota – Where do you want to go today.”

      Obviously they do not mean this to be anything but another case of “security theater.”

      • Shadowfax says:

        well I ran across one yesterday that had at least 4. “DISH Rocks, I Love watching DISH, DISH is the Best, and I Love My DISH” It was case sensitive, so if you play with the capitalization you could get thousands of slogans out of just those 4, and I’m sure they have more than that. In the end, you could probably have a computer brute-force the CAPTCHA, but since the slogan changes every time you get it wrong, it’d take forever. Quicker to just let the 5 second ad play and type in the slogan.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          So your take is that they’re going to film tens of thousands of 5-second video clips? Well, it’s a job for about a dozen film student interns for several months, at least.

          • Shadowfax says:

            No, my take is that they are going to have thousands of different slogans which they will randomly insert in the same 5 second video clip. If they’re clever enough, and they probably are, they can superimpose the slogan over the video, which means only one video file with the slogan keyed in on the fly.

            And since the slogan will change every time you reload the page, or enter the wrong slogan, you start at 0 every time your brute force attack generates a wrong code – -the wrong code you just generated could be the *right* code the next time around. So it would be a completely random guessing game that could take anywhere from 1 second to 100 years for your computer to “guess” correctly.

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              Good point, OK.

            • rjaguar3 says:

              The problem is, once it is known where the slogan is inserted, it is easy to program a computer to read whatever’s there and enter it automatically, defeating the point of a CAPTCHA.

      • forgingiron says:

        Or maybe this: Toyota – We brake for…oh wait.

    • jessjj347 says:

      That’s true. It may take some work to upkeep the list of slogans that are spammed, though.

  14. spmahn says:

    I hate CAPTCHA, especially on Ticketmaster where their codes are almost always completely illegible and require you to reload the page at least 5 times before you can get a code you can actually read. There has to be a better way for security on these sites.

  15. AstroPig7 says:

    This is seriously insecure. Slogans are not random, and a large file of them could easily be loaded by a spambot.

  16. Amy Alkon says:

    Yes, genius, tie your brand name to my annoyance at blog comments spam.

  17. TerpBE says:

    I thought of this a few years ago. I guess I should have patented it. :(

  18. Larraque eats babies says:

    … I don’t know how to type the oval with the t like thing that is the toyota logo … is that like Alt + 8234 or something?

  19. william says:

    from now on, every time I see a captcha that does this, I am taking a screen shot and send a complain to whichever company that is on the ad and tell them how I don’t appreciate this and I’ll be considering a competitor’s product.

  20. Dyscord says:

    I’ve come across this and I cannot stand it. I don’t mind captchas, but forcing someone to watch an ad just to, say, sign up for a newsletter is too much.

  21. dreamfish says:

    If there’s anything people need more of these days, it’s advertising.

    Oh, I forgot – it is, as that fatuous commercial used to say, “your right to choose”. Well, I think we’re losing the right to chose, beyond going around with our eyes closed.

  22. Jdavis says:

    This is really brilliant, because a computer won’t be able to tell the difference between the slogan and the logotype. As much as I hate advertising as the next guy, this truly is a task that requires a human brain.

  23. Beeker26 says:

    “And if you force a customer to repeat your slogan during an unrelated transaction, does he resent you for it?”

    Yes. Yes he does.

  24. kriswone says:

    What if i put a competitors slogan in there?

    Drive One.

  25. thesadtomato says:

    Especially sucky considering that you can help digitize books with

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  27. ConsumerPop says:

    Does he resent you for it? Yes. Yes he does.

  28. richcreamerybutter says:

    What are the symptoms of ad fatigue? I would love just one day of rest from having ads shoved into every crevice of real estate. If anything, wouldn’t a well-deserved break actually be more advantageous for advertisers in the long run, not unlike tapering off a medication to renew the effectiveness?

  29. smo0 says:

    I have eliminated at least 1/3 of the ads in my life by never watching television… unfortunately, my time spent on the internet and commute to and from work make up the other 2/3.

  30. EmanNeercs says:

    There’s just no escaping advertisements anymore, and I get the feeling it will only get worse.

  31. evilpete says:

    While this will not he at all secure ( see previous comments ), I suspect this will be use for non-secure reasons ( like reading the 2nd parts of a news story )

  32. jim says:

    captchas are used to prevent fraud (bots). I see nothing here that would do that.

  33. guspaz says:

    This basically makes the CAPTCHA useless. The whole point of CAPTCHAs are that they use dynamically generated (or scrambled) text in order to prevent robots from recognizing them.

    As soon as you put an unscrambled image from a limited set as above, it becomes trivial to crack. All you need is a set of the images being used, and then you evaluate the captcha image for similarity to your library of possibilities. As soon as you go from dealing with nearly infinite possibilities to just a handful of corporate ad logos, the security is gone.

  34. thomwithanh says:

    I recently came across one of these posting to a forum. Disgusting…