CAPTCHAs and the death of the open Internet

Increasingly and somewhat anecdotally we see an increase in the use of captcha in mundane activities that are best automated.

A couple of recent examples worth noting are:

Unsubscribe at your own risk

The unsubscribe form from a large ecommerce site is captcha protected !

Here is a scenario – Someone enters your email address on their site and to unsubscribe from their spammy deals you have to click on a link in their email for “your email preferences” and then enter a captcha to unsubscribe !

We know various services including gmail are automating this process and to block these services that make life easier for us through automation, sites are resorting to such crude measures and roadblocks.

You don’t need to handcuff a customer to keep them as a customer – how about openness and choice?

Public Data – Private Protection

Another example is the State of Delaware where a hugely disproportionate number of companies and startups are incorporated.

Their corporate entity search (which we feel is public data) is now captcha protected!

Slowly but surely websites are getting too protective and overboard in their approaches.

Whether the idea comes from the big boss or the programmer takes it upon himself to get a few attaboys from management – it is not a good idea to put roadblocks on the Internet.

The regular guys are the ones inconvenienced by these measures and the ones you are trying to stop know how to get past these silly blocks anyway.


scrapehero October 14, 2015

Here is another example of government sites blocking access to its own citizens due to a perceived disruption and most likely due to reduction in revenues from traffic tickets.
The app called Fixed ( was blocked by various cities from accessing their websites.
They even went as far as unplugging their Fax machines !!

The article highlights the same issue with using captchas as blocking measures which were easily bypassed by the guys at Fixed

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