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Day 38: My New Form of Captcha Anti-Spam Stuff, and Klout Becomes Almost Useful.

My New Form of Captcha Anti-Spam Stuff

I’ve got more sites that I maintain than you can shake a stick at.  And, all of them have to have an anti-spam solution, or else my email gets even MORE clogged than it already does.

But, I hate captcha systems – those little randomly generated list of numbers and letters that are nearly incomprehensible.  And, worse, some of the bots are slowly learning how to defeat them.  (And, once of the captcha systems I’m using isn’t friendly towards caching systems.)  So, I’m always watching out for something better.

So, yesterday, I was having to edit a form on Residential Aliens Magazine, because the captcha system was failing – authors could no longer send us new content.  I realized something – wait, I can make it mandatory to send a file.  On another site, I already have a mandatory upload, since that’s the only reason they’re using the form in the first place.  The one that requires a file upload never gets spam – bots don’t tend to upload files.

Hmmm…

So, now, I have my own personal anti-spam system in place for Residential Aliens Magazine, and I’m going to put it up on three more sites as a test later.  You have to upload a picture to send a message 🙂  Here’s the explanation from the site:

Now then, send us a picture. Any picture, doesn’t matter of what. Just make it smaller than 7 GB. Why? Well, captcha (the anti-spam concept) is slowly becoming defeated. Oddly, the ‘bots don’t handle file uploads. So, we make use of that to reduce spam – you can’t submit this message unless you have a picture attached. Oh, it doesn’t have to be a picture of you. It can be, that’s fine. But, it could be your favorite meme, a picture of your cat, that thing you did with your hair back in the 80’s (really, you thought that was a good idea?), or a screenshot of what’s on your desktop. Anything will do. We don’t use these pictures, so it doesn’t have to be important. 

Though, if you amuse us, it’s much more likely you’ll get a response.

Sure, it’s an extra step, but one that’s often easier than reading those stupid characters, and it’s a bit unique at the moment 🙂

Unfortunately, I’ll have to change it later.  If the idea were to catch on at all, the bots would catch on and start uploading images (and, I imagine the images themselves would be an ad!)  But, for the short term, it amuses me while serving it’s purpose 🙂

Klout Becomes Almost Useful

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at Feb 8, 2014   1.31.23 AMKlout is one of those things I can never decide if it’s useful or not.  Boiled down – if you don’t know what Klout is – it’s a social media scoring system.  The number of followers you have on various networks, plus how much people engage with you on those various networks.

I do track my Klout score, sort of.  Every couple of weeks I check it – since part of what I do from time is see how much people engage with things I post on various pages and networks, it’s nice to see feedback.  Google Analytics, and a couple other tracking systems, already give me info on people who visit the sites, and where they came from.  Klout basically tries to do the same thing for the networks themselves.

Problem is, it’s not really that useful overall.  Some people swear by Klout scores, but, I don’t really need it that badly.

Tonight I had that random whim, and logged in to check my score – whoa, they changed things!  Now, you can schedule posts from inside of Klout.  Interesting idea – I’m going to test it tonight, since the posting system on here tends to completely fail at posting on Facebook for some reason.

Also, I don’t have an amazing Klout score – right now it’s a 62, and it’s been as high as 65 (during the Jumpman Forever Kickstarter Campaign).  BTW, a 65 would mean that I have a Klout score better than everyone but the CEO of Klout (70), and puts me in the top 5% of Internet users for number of people who interact with me.  Somehow, I don’t much buy into the score as a whole. But, being able to see changes in the score when I’m doing marketing and such, well, that is useful.  Add the scheduled posting idea, and I might actually look at Klout more often. Or, maybe I should check out Kred instead… 🙂

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