A Complete List of CAPTCHA Alternatives

CAPTCHAs don’t enjoy the best reputation in the world these days. Indeed, most users find them annoying, time-consuming, and useless. From a regular end-user point of view, they don’t add anything valuable to their experience. From a company’s point of view, they can be bypassed, tricked, or deceived by bots.

Such is the situation, in this case, a study shows how a company lost 3.2% of all their conversions in three months while using CAPTCHA on their website compared to not using it.

If this sounds familiar, don’t worry because we are here to bring you CAPTCHA alternatives that can improve customer satisfaction and conversion rates for your site.

Stay safe, sell more, and improve C-SAT with the alternative to CAPTCHA that suits you the best.

AI, Humans, And CAPTCHAs; a Never-Ending Race

CAPTCHA is a term coined in 2003 to name a tool that works as a stop barrier for bots trying to access websites pretending to be humans. As AI got better with time, CAPTCHAs had to become harder to bypass. Moreover, machine learning fed on CAPTCHAs in the sense that they served as the perfect training.

But that equation didn’t hold only two factors, the third factor was the user. As CAPTCHAs got harder to solve, humans started seeing it as an obstacle, an annoying step before they could get what they wanted. Thus, this affected conversion rates and customer satisfaction around the world.

Furthermore, with a globalized market, according to this piece from India, there are language barriers that make it even more difficult for users. For example, knowing what a fire hydrant is to solve a CAPTCHA might not be the easiest path for someone who has never seen one.

So, this never-ending race that only gets harder needs to come to an end not to affect conversion rates negatively. Let’s take a look at the best alternatives in the market to replace it and have happy interactions with customers, prospects, and buyers.

1 The Honeypot Trap

Just like in kids’ stories, a honeypot can be used to attract the bad guys to a trap. In this case, we are talking about a virtual honeypot that looks more like a field that is completely invisible to users and features with a hidden CSS. This field can contain a rule to fail the validation in case anything is entered in that space.

Bots love filling up blank fields, thus, they will fall for the honeypot trap time and time again.

While you’re leaving bots out of your site, you are also minimizing, or even removing any kind of customer friction due to CAPTCHAs. That being said, there are some caveats in the process you should bear in mind:

· Browsers fill common fields automatically – In this case, which is very common, you have to be a tad more creative and create a field that no other company would ask for. This could be something like “time zone” or “blood type”; something bots will recognize, but humans don’t normally add to their responses.

· User has CSS disabled – If the user disables CSS, then you can simply hide the honeypot field purely with JS.

2 Simple Tasks & Games

Adding a little fun to the validation process might prove to be a game-changer for your website. In this sense, instead of having to be an inch away from the screen trying to figure out what those twisted characters are, users can have some seconds of fun playing a simple game.

This process, known as “Gamification”, can even be related to your company or business. For example, if you sell car parts you can choose an automotive-related game as a CAPTCHA alternative.

Although it is an interesting alternative for a plethora of business niches, it might not be the best in sites that are directed to high executives or business reports, for example. Your company’s CFO might not be delighted with planting virtual trees to see the Q3 data.

3 Questions to Test Skills

On the other hand, simple math questions can be a great ally for those cases in which we have to deal with high executives and utterly serious endeavors or reports. Plus, for a certain audience it is much easier to solve a simple math problem than making out what CAPTCHA (that mostly looks like doodles made by a three-year-old child) says.

These math problems can go from a simple add or subtract to a full equation depending on the target audience.

4 Authenticate with a Third Party

Used almost exclusively by membership sites, offering to fulfill the information with a working third-party account is a great way to avoid spam while making customers’ lives easier instead of harder.

In this case, you just give them the option to fulfill their info with a plethora of choices (Google, Facebook, etc.). Although it helps prevent friction with most users, you might still have to go with traditional CAPTCHA methods for those who fill out their forms manually.

While it is true that it doesn’t solve 100% of the issue, it drastically improves customer satisfaction.

5 Solve Media’s CAPTCHA Alternative

Another way to make some money out of this obstacle is to use Solve Media’s CAPTCHA tool. This alternative to CAPTCHA shows the user an ad from your website (for which you receive money) and asks them to fill in a field below with some text from the ad.

This way, you can monetize your CAPTCHA efforts and can make up for the lost conversion while being safe from bots and spam.

6 Time-Based Forms

Another great way to stop bots and spam is to add a time factor to the form. This doesn’t have to be a visible clock on the screen but rather a rule that can reject applications filled in less than 30 seconds, for example. Or, if you have a longer form, you can stretch that time frame to a minute.

This way, bots filling out the form in 29 seconds or less will be unable to submit the request.

Final Words

According to a recent Stanford University report, it took an average of 9.8 seconds to respond to an image CAPTCHA for the over 1,100 users surveyed. Moreover, in only 71% of the cases will three users agree on CAPTCHA translation; in other words, in the 29% remaining they would have translated it differently. That would result in a mismatch and starting again with the validation process, a scenario that can be discouraging for any customer.

So, above you have 6 tested and true options that can serve as the perfect alternative to CAPTCHA on your website.

Test them, choose the one that suits you best, and enjoy a high conversion rate with minimal spam.


  • Bilal Akbar

    I am Bilal Akbar, the founder of TechTaalk. I am an expert web designer, graphic designer, SEO, and professional blogger. My specialty is WordPress, and I have spent the past few years in website development, blogging, search engine optimization, and digital marketing.
    I am passionate about helping people learn about technology and how to use it to their advantage. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to use technology to improve their lives, and I am committed to providing that opportunity through TechTaalk.

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