The New Captcha? A Brand's Slogan

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You know captchas, the world's most widespread test of humanity, right? A website presents you with some distorted text and you use humans' better-than-robot ability to decipher those letters and type them into a box, proving you are Homo sapiens and not a few lines of spammer code.

Fast Company brings word that a new kind of captcha could be on the horizon. Instead of typing distorted words, you'd type a brand slogan. No, I'm not kidding. And yes, I agree, that does sound aggressive. Apparently, it's great for brand recall.

Now New York-based startup Solve Media wants to keep that security measure, while turning your registration irritation into ad dollars. By swapping illegible text with an advertisement, Solve has created a system that is beneficial to both users and marketers. Instead of typing in a random assortment of letters and numbers, we soon could be entering a company slogan or a brand tagline.

Microsoft, for example, will ask users to type in "Browse Safer" as part of an advertisement for Internet Explorer. Toyota may ask you to type in a new theme its pushing. Perhaps other companies will take advantage of your undivided attention by implanting corporate messages into your conscious: "I want a Pop Tart" or "Coors Light Does Not Taste Like Urine."

Read the full story at Fast Company.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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