AreYouAHuman Develops Game-Based CAPTCHA Alternative

Few things on the Internet are both as necessary and annoying as CAPTCHAs, but it’s difficult to otherwise verify that a human being is attempting to access a site or send information. There have been and continue to be plenty of methods to improve CAPTCHAs, including an oddball empathy-based version, a twisted image that requires the user to drag sliders around to re-orient the image, taking the two-birds-with-one-stone approach of combining ads and CAPTCHAs, and more.

One company that has developed a novel idea is AreYouAHuman, which offers a game-based verification system called PlayThru. The company describes PlayThru thusly: “PlayThru is the CAPTCHA replacement that makes people smile: a set of quick, simple minigames that delight users and stop bots in their tracks.”

AreYouAHuman butterflies
Step 1: Prepare to catch butterflies. Step 2: Catch butterflies. Step 3: Joy and verification.

The games are nearly mindless and kind of stupid, but that’s the point. For example, one game is “Catch only the butterflies”, wherein you can control a net with your mouse and drag it to the couple of butterflies in the tiny picture while avoiding the birds and bees. (There’s a joke in there somewhere.) Another is “Put basketball players on the court”, in which you click and drag two drawings of basketball players to the basketball court in the picture; if you try and drag the coffee cup or banana there, forget it--you lose.

That’s it. And it takes seconds--oddly, less time that some CAPTCHAs take to decipher. AreYouAHuman claims that PlayThru can increase a site’s form submission by 40%, and it can also be branded as an ad, which combines its functionality with the ad-based CAPTCHA idea mentioned above.

Finally, the team behind PlayThru went to the trouble of learning how Internet bots “think” and developing the tool that specifically trips up bot logic and engages with normal human logic, which is a welcome innovation.