Your “Captcha” Is Killing Your Comments

The Hardest Captcha.

The Hardest Captcha. (Photo credit: Britt Selvitelle)

Two days ago I received an angry email from a reader who is upset because they think it is unfair that I rarely comment on their blog.

My gut reaction to their email was to respond by telling them their content is painful to read and that I despise the “captcha” they use to protect against Spam.

No one wants to have their blog populated with 1000 spam comments about SEO scams or sex products so I understand why bloggers look for tools/resources that help eliminate those problems.

But sometimes the cure can kill the patient.

It Should Be Easy To Comment

The “Captcha” and “word verification” solutions are among the biggest reasons why I don’t always comment on some blogs. If I have to spend time squinting at the screen trying to figure out what letters I need to type to post a comment there is a good chance it won’t happen.

Time is precious and I don’t want to spend mine trying to guess if I am supposed to type “wheiuthg” or “white.”

I have read posts where people express similar feelings about why they don’t like blogs that use comment systems like DISQUS and Livefyre but I see a significant distinction between the two.

There is a simple log-in procedure that I can use to participate in the comment section of blogs that use those systems.  There is no guess work involved.It might not be as simple as CommentLuv (affiliate link) but it still isn’t particularly difficult either.

Remove The Hurdles

If you aren’t receiving as many comments on your blog as you want do yourself a favor and take a hard look at your blog. The first thing to do is figure out if you have any “built in”  hurdles that are causing issues for your readers.

Every extra step you add to leaving a comment has an impact upon whether people will share their words of wisdom with you. What you have to figure out is what works best for your community and then go with that.

It never hurts to reach out to community members to ask for their feedback, unless you send insulting and aggressive emails in which case the response might not be the one you hope for.

What do you think?


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  1. Pingback: How To Make More Money Blogging - Joshua Wilner

  2. Karen Hoyt January 18, 2014 at 8:28 am


    I’m a big fan of commentluv thanks to Adrienne Smith. You nailed it with the squinting at the screen! Once i found out how simple it was to comment quickly, I grabbed that plug in for my site also.

    I have a question you may be able to answer. Is captcha the only solution to the tons of “user registrations” on my wp site? I have akismet, but it is not catching them all.

    Thanks so much and great to find you in a google search!
    Karen Hoyt

    • Joshua January 18, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Hi Karen,

      I think there are some other plugins that you can use but none are top of mind. It is why I used Livefyre for a long while here. It cut down on the spam tremendously.

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  4. Kenin Bassart January 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I agree that they are rather annoying. It’s why I installed and implemented commentluv on our blog and haven’t looked back!

  5. Hajra January 9, 2013 at 11:18 am

    There are a few blogs I really love but the weird codes they call captcha keeps me from commenting. In fact some of the codes are so blurred and hazy that I really can’t get it. In fact in the other tab, right now, I am trying to post my comment on a blog post and I have got the code wrong – three times already!

    I got Livefyre after I was a little disappointed with Disqus and I love the commenting system 🙂 I hope I don’t change my mind.

    • Josh January 10, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Hi Hajra,

      I have grown so tired of having the same experience you just shared. We shouldn’t have to try three times to post, it is just ridiculous.

      Livefyre has been pretty good to me, so overall I think it is a good system.

  6. idiosyncratic eye January 7, 2013 at 4:01 am

    I particularly ‘appreciate’ the new enhanced systems which use either photographs of things like door numbers at odd and blurry angles or even better, I’ve been faced with other scripts and neither me nor my keyboard have a clue how to replicate Hebrew letters. ;>

    • Josh January 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Hi IE,

      I can help you with the Hebrew letters provided I can see them. Some of the systems obscure the image so thoroughly I can’t tell what is being shown there.

  7. Yvonne Salvatierra January 6, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote about this topic. I loathe that “Captcha” jazz! It’s for the birds. Really. I cannot tell you how many times I have taken the time to write a very well thought out comment, only to have it disappear as I try to post it but am met with the wrath of the flipping “Captcha”! So it just makes me not want to even bother to comment anymore.

    • Josh January 6, 2013 at 11:33 pm

      Hi Yvonne,

      I just lost a comment to the Captcha beast and walked away. It is frustrating to spend more time trying to post the comment than it took to write it.

  8. L. M. January 5, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Dropping by from the Write on Edge link up and I have to say: a-flipping-men.

    When I first started with Blogger, I got a lot of spam so I switched to Disqus in order to cut down on that without making commenting too difficult.

    I can’t count the amount of times I’ve written a thorough comment for a blog post only to be stifled by the captcha. (A few times it’s resulted in loss of the entire comment. And at that point, I just give up.)

    • Josh January 6, 2013 at 11:18 pm

      Hi L.M.,

      Sometimes I think DISQUS and company should give Captcha a big fat kiss for sending them so many new customers. 😉

      I have lost comments that way too and it really irritates me.

  9. Jens P. Berget January 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I am still thinking about whether I should switch to a new commenting system or not. I love CommentLuv, but I am missing a way to tag people in the comments and expand the discussion. On the other hand, I am so glad that I have removed the Captcha I had installed prior to CommentLuv 🙂

    • Josh January 2, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      Hi Jens,

      The lack of tagging is something that I have thought about quite a bit, but it hasn’t been enough yet to push me back to one of the other systems. I had been looking into it again and then Andy rolled out the ReplyMe option and that has made a significant difference in my comments so I have been sitting on things for a bit.

  10. Marta January 1, 2013 at 8:12 am

    So true! Captcha is making me upset every time, and on most cases I change my mind and I don’t submit my comment. There are a lot of better ways for verifying humanity and filter spambots, these captcha queries only can make one’s life more complicated…

  11. Lori Gosselin December 31, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Josh, like everyone here I don’t like the Captcha either. What bothers me even more, though, is when I receive an email to subscribe to the comments on a blog where I’ve just left a comment. Whey doesn’t everyone just use Livefyre!?!? Oh, wait – you’re not using it anymore 😮 At least you don’t make us jump through hoops here!
    Happy New Year Josh!

    • Josh December 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Hi Lori,

      Happy New Year to you too. Livefyre certainly has many positives, but it does have a few negatives too but then again all commenting systems do.

      Hope you enjoy your New Years and that you stretch a bit because the hoop jumping begins on January 1 and I want to you to lead the crowd. 😉

  12. Adam December 31, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Agree 100%. It is a rare moment when a captcha doesn’t turn me away, particularly with commenting.

    Have a great and safe New Year Josh!

  13. Ally December 31, 2012 at 2:03 am

    I have found such a huge discrepancy in comments using a CAPTCHA (accidentally) and removing it! I was so embarrassed when I realised I had it turned on. I LOATHE the things with the fir of a 1000 burning suns. I find them so hard to read I started using this cool CAPTCHA bypass software called RUMOLA to read and fill them in for me. Would recommend if you are a serious blogger because there are still so many CAPTCHAs out there!

    • Josh December 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Ally,

      I have never heard of a software bypass but I can’t say I am surprised. These things need to be destroyed, melted down and used for scrap. 😉

  14. Dan Black December 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Great thoughts. I find it hard to comment on other people’s blog when the work of publishing the comment is harder then writing the comment.

  15. Tim Bonner December 29, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Hey Josh

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    If I land on a blog and there’s a Captcha I’m out of there. I just don’t always get them right and I’m not going to spend time doing it unless I really want to buy something from somebody.

  16. Sapna December 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Josh

    I want to share my experience I was to comment on one of blog, nothing was mentioned about case sensitivity, ultimately I figured out after 5 min of hit and trial.

    I wrote to blogger, to mention this “”CASE SENSITIVE” some where below the captcha or remove the captcha. He removed the captcha after few days.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.


    • Josh December 29, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Hi Sapna,

      I have seen the case sensitive issue crop up several times too. The captchas are already irritating enough without making it more difficult. Always a good time being asked to roll through 15 steps before our comments are accepted.

  17. Carolyn December 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I was forced to use Captcha for about a month by my host service while I was transitioning from a regular to a pro account. If you want to drive away commenters, just use Captcha. Your traffic will drop like a rock too.

    I agree with you, make it as easy to comment as possible. Reward the commenter with CommentLuv. Pretty much anything Adrienne Smith, queen of comments, does is a good idea.

    • Josh December 29, 2012 at 1:37 am

      Hi Carolyn,

      Adrienne is the comment queen. That is a great name for her.

      That Captcha service is just wonderful- if I ever decide I need a bodyguard I might hire them because they know how to keep people away.

  18. Bell December 28, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I loathe captchas. If spam protection is all that important, why not employ a decent comment system like LiveFyre, Disqus or Intense Debate or, if one uses the bare-bones WordPress system, isn’t there something like an Akismet plugin anyway?

    Totally OK with captchas for e-commerce. But making your reader jump through hoops just to express themselves? Blecch.

    • Josh December 29, 2012 at 1:28 am

      Hi John,

      Amen to all of that. There are a million different ways to avoid those nasty suckers which is why I wonder about some bloggers. I don’t know if they are unaware of the distaste and dislike that so many feel or if the just don’t care.

      Obviously people can do as they choose, but this is the kind of thing that just hurts blogs.

  19. Vidya Sury December 28, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Oh, I hate captcha. It should be banned. I get tired of refreshing it in the hope it will be easier. I can never figure it out until I try about 8 times, and I definitely am not going to do that on all the blogs that have captcha. Ugh.

    🙂 Not everyone agrees though. They’ll torture readers with it.

  20. Gina December 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    So that’s why you don’t read my stuff… 😉 (been off the writing and on the reading)

    I agree. Pain in the ass.

    • Josh December 28, 2012 at 1:37 am

      Hi Gina,

      I have read all of your recent stuff, just haven’t left a comment every time. In fact I have left very few comments everywhere as of late, but that is a different post altogether. 😉

  21. Jennifer Flint ~ The Aura Reader December 27, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Sooo agreed – I even ran across one site that made people do MATH as a captcha – and if you didn’t notice the tiny box requiring this, or God forbid didn’t do it right, it just went to a page informing you of this, and your comment was gone! Yeesh! And they tell you high school arithmetic won’t be important in your later life! 😛

    • Josh December 28, 2012 at 1:36 am

      Hi Jennifer,

      I have stumbled onto some of the math problems too. Every time I see them I want to change them into some sort of crazy word problems using two tons of bananas, trains traveling cross country and the quadratic equation.

      High school math indeed. 😉

  22. Mary Stephenson December 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Josh

    Wow, that is pretty nasty getting an email like that. After that who would even bother reading what they wrote. Can’t make people feel guilty and then get them to do what you want, of course that might work okay for them around family or so called friends. But online that just doesn’t fly at all.

    But I agree with you about jumping through hoops to comment. Although I found someone that unwittingly had their comment section turned off and so I contacted them and they were grateful I hung in there while they got it fixed.

    I also don’t like it when I make a well thought out comment and they never put it up. Check your spam and with gravatars you can easily tell if there is an authentic comment or not that got lost in the wrong place.

    If one monitors their website you should not have the fear of spam getting through. You could always hold all comments until checked if one is afraid. I have the first one held and after that they are approved automatically. But I still check every single comment that comes through and check their website on the first one. Good comment, but porn website…sorry you don’t get on my site.

    Good post and hopefully all those who have the “hoop jumping comment sections” will change what they are doing.


    • Josh December 28, 2012 at 1:32 am

      Hi Mary,

      It is the sort of email I have received more than a couple of times. I think the “anonymous” aspect makes it easy for some people to try to speak their minds without fear of consequences.

      In my mind there is no point in having a blog unless you open up the comment section and it is irritating when you can’t share your thoughts. Sometimes our comments get flagged as spam but not everyone remembers to check their spam folders.

  23. Jared Karol December 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I agree. . . the easier it is to comment, the more likely I’m going to comment. . . Hey, like here. . . that was pretty easy. . . 🙂

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