Say Hello To Improved Conversion With Honeypots!

Today marks the beginning of a new era of improved interaction here at Adaptistration thanks to saying so-long to Captcha, that box you find at the end of comment forms and pretty much anywhere were websites are trying to block spammers. Unfortunately, they also do a pretty good job at blocking users, ticket buyers, and patrons looking for info; fortunately, there are options.

WTF!?! How is anyone supposed to be able to decipher this nonsense?

Since the beginning of the year, the most common type of Captcha, the distorted text challenge, have become an increasing pain in the tuchus. And in the end, it became tiresome to punish website visitors with these headache inducing challenge tests just to keep low-life spammers out of the system; but there is a solution.

And that answer comes in the form of the Honeypot Spam Trap (don’t you love geek nomenclature?). Honeypots are nothing new but they’ve become much more effective as of late, enough so that I’ve been testing them at a number of sites, the latest of which is here at Adaptistration.

Simply put, Honeypots insert form fields that are hidden to humans but spam bots think they are real. So if the system sees that the Honeypot field has been completed, it must be from a low-life spammer and it either quarantines the message for review or shreds into digital infinity.

The best part is it means website users are relieved from the hassle of deciphering twisted letters, doing math, or remembering the capital of France (it’s Paris). All they have to do is complete regular form fields and click the submit button.

I’ve been deploying Honeypots at a number of Venture user sites and other website projects and the success rates are equal to or better than Captcha options so the next step is to roll it out here at a blog that garners far more comment oriented traffic than a typical arts org website. It’s been in place for a few days now and so far, so good.

Depending on what sort of platform your site is running, a Honeypot may be just the thing to help eliminate conversion barriers like Captcha. I’ll be happy to share whatever I’ve learned, just get in touch via submitting a Captcha-free comment below or using the Captcha-free contact form.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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0 thoughts on “Say Hello To Improved Conversion With Honeypots!”

  1. Hi Drew, What honeypot plugin are you running? I’ve recently seen a big spike in spammy posts on the bolog on my site and I’d rather not run Captcha because it’s horrible! If you could recommend one for WP I would be grateful. The cheaper or freer the better!

    • First, check to see if the increase is all due to the same source, if so and the name/ip address/etc. are consistent, simply add that to the discussion blacklist (Settings>discussion). Second, I’ve had a bunch of trackback spam coming in and the honeypot won’t do you any good there.

      I also prefer not to give out any sort of recommendations due to the increasingly complex nature of WP, 3rd party plugins, and how well they play with one another. Instead, I’d suggest you check the WP plugin repository for honeypot plugins to find one that has predominantly good reviews, is updated frequently and regularly, and will work with whatever theme you have in place, not to mention other plugins. In fact, check with the respective author to inquire about compatibility.

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