Google reCAPTCHA vs. Human Presence

Spambots are notorious for disrupting websites big and small. The WordPress community has been dealing with spambots since its inception. WordPress spambots have two primary goals: malicious phishing and black hat SEO. The goal for malicious phishing is to hopefully get the website owner or visitors to click on a spam link that can be used for phishing private data from the users. This is not only damaging for the site visitors, but it can also damage the reputation of the website domain with Google and other search engines. The other spambot goal of black hat SEO is establishing backlinks on websites using the WordPress comments feature. Blackhat SEO specialists believe they can raise their sites up the search engine rankings by getting these backlinks on specific websites through the comments feature. Spam can damage your website’s reputation and it’s especially rampant on WordPress websites in forms and comments sections.

Common WordPress Spam Solutions

As mentioned above, WordPress developers and site owners have been dealing with spam for years. There have been a few anti-spam plugins created to block spam on WordPress sites including Akismet, Anti-Spam Bee, Honeypot, Google Recaptcha, and more. The weird thing about these solutions is they do not work for everyone. Many times WordPress developers are recommended to combine multiple solutions like Google Recaptcha, Akismet, and Honeypot to fully protect their forms and comments sections. Doing this results in more server calls, slower page speed, and poor site visitor experience. On top of all that, spam still gets through causing the same headaches over and over again. One solution that has really stood the test of time is Google Recaptcha.

Google reCAPTCHA: The Turing Test for WordPress Anti-Spam

Recaptcha was originally developed by Louis von Ahn and a host of other collegiate scholars in 2007 to establish that a computer user is human, but also digitize the books. Google acquired Recaptcha in 2009 has since evolved from traditional word-based Turing tests to image-based Turing tests.

How Google reCAPTCHA Works?

Google Recaptcha is a free service offered by Google to help protect websites from spam and abuse. A Captcha is a Turing test designed to tell the difference between humans and bots. The goal of the software is to make easy for humans to solve and hard for bots to decipher.

In 2014, Google Recaptcha started to implement behavioral analysis in combination with the Captcha puzzles. In 2017, Google released invisible Recaptcha with the hope of decreasing user experience problems and stopping spambots at the same time.

While Google Recaptcha does help some WordPress websites greatly reduce comments and form spam, many sites still deal with spambots even after installing Recaptcha v2 or Recaptcha v3 versions.

Common Complaints and Issues

Google Recaptcha has definitely faced quite a bit of criticism and issues over the years. One of the top complaints is that Google is using Recaptcha as a source of unpaid labor for transcribing books, addresses, and newspaper. The biggest issue with captchas is the horrible user experience they create when a human is unable to easily solve the puzzle. Thousands of users have reported issues with both the image-based and text-based captchas. Lastly, with Recaptcha, Google is accused of creating an anti-competitive internet by making Recaptcha more difficult on competing browsers like Firefox, Edge, and Safari.

Human Presence: The Solution to Block Spam on WordPress

Human Presence was created because of the growing threat of spambots and malicious threats that WordPress and WooCommerce developers deal with today. Bots are evolving and finding ways to evade advanced detection techniques like Akismet Anti-Spam, Google Recaptcha, and others. Bots are also being used to disrupt eCommerce flash sales and markets for specific products. Bots are learning how to evade WordPress anti-spam plugins with the help of black hat developers and AI. We developed Human Presence to help website owners protect their site with an invisible solution that works in the background, allowing visitors to interact with the website without the hassle of a Turing test like Recaptcha.

How does Human Presence work?

Unlike other WordPress anti-spam plugins, we use a “human presence” approach, essentially mapping natural, organic movements and we apply the logic to all future site visits. The technology is constantly getting smarter and identifies bots within milliseconds. The behavioral analysis algorithm eliminates false positives with real human visitors to block spam in your WordPress comments and contact forms. Like the Akismet Anti-Spam plugin, we crowdsource our human behavior database from all the websites using Human Presence so that our technology is always getting smarter against spambots. The difference is our database cannot be manipulated like the text-based Akismet spam database. With our advanced risk detection and machine learning techniques, Human Presence is the only solution for complete spam prevention for WordPress.

How is Human Presence different from Google Recaptcha?

We looked at what Google was doing with Recaptcha and brought it into the new age of machine learning and behavioral analysis. With no preference of platform, we take pride in our technology working with all browsers, forms plugins, and other web platforms like Shopify, Drupal, Magento, and more. Our technology works invisibly in the background to make the user experience unphased and eliminate all form spam, WordPress comments spam, and WooCommerce reviews spam. No more Turing test. Add Human Presence today and start squashing those spambots!

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