Stop Form Spam – a non Captcha Captcha

Stop Form Spam – a non Captcha Captcha
Stop Form Spam Script question mark

Stop Form Spam – but how?

Form spam, everyone hates it.  That’s when some automated software finds the contact form on your web site and uses to tell you about cheesy offers you’d rather not hear, like how they can get to to #1 on Google for anything you’d like for $9.99!  The most common approach has been to use an image based CAPTCHA script to make sure that a human is filling out the form.  The problem is, they really irritate users and now they make programs for spammers that can read the image the Captcha produces so now image based captcha just doesn’t really work any more.

What’s a web Designer to do then?  We have the answer.  We needed a custom script that was secure, easy for users and easy for web designers.  Years ago we developed one for a client, but it was a bit too custom for general release.  So we simplified it so that even an entry level web designer could customize it and implement it.    We made it more secure and kept easy for the one filling out the form to use.  We liked it so much we use it on our own contact page.   So far it has blocked 100% of the form spam and also blocked everyone who has tried to access the form handler page directly (robots, pranksters and hackers, o my!)

Download the source code: http://texxsmith.net/SFS

6 Comments

  1. I agree that some Image-Based Authentication does not work because I really think these products were just thrown together without much thought into the development process..But before we dismiss Image-Based Authentication, I did some digging and came across the company in Cali called Confident Technologies.

    We decided to try the product and I was fairly impressed. 100% blocked all of my SPAM…Check it out!!!

    First off, the product is FREE and their CAPTCHA products are available for PHP, ASP.NET, Python, WordPress, Drupal and Joomla;

  2. We did check them out. There are couple problems with their implementation.

    1-Our entry level guy here had trouble implementing it.
    2- There’s already a defeat that’s been published for it.
    3- It’s not handicap accessible
    4- Maybe it’s only a temporary thing, but the first two times we tried the demo on their site, it didn’t work. The images didn’t load.
    5- It failed our Grand Mother test. As in a couple of friends of family found it too difficult to use.
    **5a- We found it to be just the opposite of user friendly as well.
    6- You have to exchange your personal information for it
    7- It’s hosted on their servers, thus you can’t control if and when it stops working, plus they are probably gathering information from your users
    8- It’s closed source, thus you can’t modify it as you see fit.
    9- What’s up with the odd “confidentiality” section of their terms of service. That’s unusual and awfully vaguely worded, except for the threat part, of course.
    10- they advertise their own company as part of the captcha. NOT cool.

    Well that’s ten reasons, I guess that enough to stop.

    Sorry I blasted on your idea. I do appreciate your input and hope you’ll come back. Unless of course you work for the company in question. In that case, I would suggest you come work for us instead, as we like your gumption and think you’d be happier if you didn’t have to market crappy products.

  3. Yes I would have to say having the contact page like you do is a great way to stop spam from going into your inbox. I have noticed that it dose how ever in most cases cost the spammers money to have a program that fills out the captcha forms for them so in that case they still are good to have but are not as good as having what you have.

    • Well thanks Jenna, we don’t think our script will stand up a single minded talented programmer writing something just for our script (yet), but we do believe that this will block every robot that’s out there today…
      If you have any programmers that are looking to donate some time on an open source project . . .

  4. I love this style of captcha way better than the one that Google uses, that things a freakin nightmare!

  5. Holy crap, this has exactly what I need and the code is pretty easy to use. Thanks!

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