Monday, July 21, 2014

Blogger’s new direction in word verification

[Google, WTF?]

One way to discourage spam comments on a Blogger blog is to enable “word verification.” For a long time, word verification required an aspiring commenter to verify personhood by typing a street address, presumably from a Google Maps snippet. It was number verification, really.

With no explanation and no notice, Blogger recently changed its word-verification practice. A commenter must now type the words PHOTO SPHERE. Photo Sphere is a camera mode for Android phones, or some Android phones. Android? Blogger? Google.

Orange Crate Art has always been an ad-free blog. The closest I’ve come to an ad is the brief self-promotion from a YouTube contributor that prefaced an Elaine Stritch clip in a recent post. I agonized a little about letting that get by, and I decided that the clip was worth it. I take the idea of ad-free seriously.

And because I do, I’ve removed word verification. If the spam becomes too much, I’ll have to reinstate it. But removing it, for now, is my way of showing Google that I’m not a robot.

[You might be surprised by how many spam comments come through with word verification off, even with comment moderation on. Blogger sends almost all such comments to a spam folder. But it’s sad and sometimes creepy to see them. They remind me of how much of the Internets is not the Internets as I know them.]

comments: 5

Anonymous said...

FRESCA (too lazy to sign in) says, Damn. It's back.

I will take the word verification off my blog too, even though, like you, I dislike how much spam makes it through. Still, I like ads even less.

Michael Leddy said...

I’ve had about fifteen spam comments, either for luggage or painkillers. At least these visits don’t show up in my stats.

By the way, if you need a good source for tramadol, I’m your guy.

Diane Schirf said...

I think it was partly a flawed implementation, because in some cases I got a photo of a number — I don't think "Photo Sphere" was supposed to be visible.

Daughter Number Three said...

Before you turned it off, I saw one of these and was confused. Hit the "give me another image" button and it gave me one of the number images. So I think Diane may be right, that it's a flawed implementation.

Michael Leddy said...

Perhaps as with other Google services, this feature is showing up here and there, not all at once. On my blog it appeared, disappeared, and appeared again. What I find most ominous is the tiny Ad Choices link, as if the only choice is between different kinds of advertising. I choose no ads. :)