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IDEA #91 – Captchavertising (“captcha advertising”)

Once again, I’m cleaning up my email and draft posts — this was one from a year ago (Jan 29, 2008). I’m not going to take any claim to the idea. Boris (of The Next Web Conference; and also he started TwitterCounter) and I were spitting back a few emails, because he had a script he wanted written for his site (I’m unsure if he’s still doing that business, I don’t see the live demo anymore; but this idea was hot).

He was at the time doing ‘Captchavertising’ (I don’t know if he coined this term, but I have an email from 1/29/08 with him using it), but it doesn’t appear he’s offering Captchavertising on his advertise page (although he may still be doing it). Basically, when an advertiser purchased ads on his site, he’d then use their company name in his captcha’s on the site.

I think this is a great idea that could be used across the web. If any of the comment systems are using captcha’s (IntenseDebate, Disqus, or generic commenting/contact us forms, etc), this could be a way to monetize them.

I know we’re all off saving literacy with recaptcha, but this could be a way for Publishers/bloggers to earn a few extra dollars each month.

The captcha could be the company name or slogan (limited to like 15 characters) and a number next to it. It could also show their logo; or the captcha could be their logo.

So someone… anyone… if you can figure out a business model for this and an easy way for Publishers/websites to use it with their contact forms, forms, comments, etc…. go for it!

  • Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    We used the Captchavertising system for a while on some blogs but decided to not pursue it as a business. It was a tough idea to make successful with a lot of question marks. Users hate captcha’s. advertisers don’t want to be associated with spam (in any way) and I wonder if the comment form is a good moment to distract people from what they want to do with ads.

    We did use it as an extra incentive for advertisers for a while but found out they weren’t that interested.

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  • Jeremy Laurin

    I saw this the other day. Pretty impressive.

  • jack anderson

    Sometimes Captcha Sites looks like frustrating but are somewhat secure so use captcha on your sites also

  • Oliver Moser

    This is a great idea and with some research I have found a company which is already offering this service in Germany:


  • MandarinZach

    Solve Media ( is doing exactly this. I’m working on my own interactive ad startup that will occupy a different corner of the advertising ecosystem: exploiting a canyon in the freemium model. Check out our pre-reg at

  • Blah

    Aussie Start up doing this for a couple of years –