Every once in a while, I get a strange message from a subscriber. They might be confused. They might feel frustrated. Or, like this one, they might be unhappy…
In this one, it was all a matter of misunderstanding — a misunderstanding by a computer user about "confirmation" requirements on web sites.
If this silly business of asking me for confirmation of something I have asked for is to continue, then simply forget it Terry!
I assumed that Cass was writing about the mandatory confirmation of your intent to subscribe to my newsletter. That’s actually an anti-spam measure, as I advised Cass.
I wrote back to Cass to tell him that I was sorry he felt that way. It’s an anti-spam measure that many mailing services use " it prevents "friends" from subscribing others to mailing lists for email-bombing purposes. As a result, it reduces the problems.
I also reminded him that, like any other subscriber, he was free to subscribe or not — his choice.
Cass quickly wrote back:
Thanks for your response Terry, and the explanation. I’m not very computer savvy, and have never been able
to understand how copying a group of deformed characters helps to confirm the identity of the correspondent.
It’s always struck me as being a ploy, on the part of the sender, to persuade the correspondent that he/she is somehow being protected. I honestly can’t understand the efficacy of it.
However, I’m in receipt of your first newsletter, Vol 6 No 52, and while I don’t pretend to understand all the jargon. It makes informative reading, and I’d like to continue receiving it. If you can possibly take the time to explain the anti-spam measure, and how it works, it would be much appreciated by this tyro.
I wrote back to Cass to explain that I assumed the confirmation he meant was having to respond to a confirmation email.
The purpose of the CAPTCHA deformed characters is to prevent automated commenting on blogs and automated sending of emails via Contact forms. It has nothing to do with protecting the poster and everything to do with protecting the site.
The CAPTCHA function is relatively easy for a human to understand, interpret and enter. However, a blog-spammer’s program isn’t going to be able to accurately identify the characters.
Therefore, the program won’t be able to generate an automated posting for pharmaceuticals and other typical products sold via spam, as well as the number of "fake" comments that are nothing more than blatant links to the poster’s own site. (example: "I really like this post. Keep up the good work" with the poster’s link to his spammy site.)
You’d be amazed how many spam comments I got in the first few days of having a site configured as a blog. CAPTCHA, and later reCAPTCHA were the solutions.
WordPress offers a free anti-blog-spam plug-in, but adding the reCAPTCHA confirmation really cut down on the number of spam comments that made it past WordPress’ plug-in.