I get pretty bristly when I think about people being paid to put annoying stupid and illiterate comments on blogs, in the hopes their comments will be approved and thereby create a link out of your site to one of theirs. Yet all over the world, especially in India, Malaysia, China and Russia, there are tens of thousands of low-paid, non-English speaking workers hired for a pennies a day to decipher the CAPTCHA code on WordPress comments.
The purpose of a CAPTCHA code on a website is to ensure that automated spam cannot reach you, because only humans can read the letters and numbers and type them out. So to get around the CAPTCHA codes, companies in third-world countries have enlisted the help of real humans to do just this.
With the going rate ranging from 80 cents to $1.20 for each 1,000 deciphered CAPTCHAs, a really fast worker can make $2 to $3 a day. Imagine deciphering 1,000 CAPTCHAs in one day, then doing it again for the next 365 days.
International CAPTCHA-solving teams are “effectively sweatshop labor, where people will just sit and be given these images to solve and will type them in all day.”
In India, major CAPTCHA-solving companies advertise their services freely to companies selling search engine optimization (SEO), Viagra, vitamins and others who can profit from getting a link on your site. Typical newspaper ads read:
I have 40 PCs and 55 Persons working in my office for data entry work. As 1 person can do 800 captcha entry per hour. We can deliver you good quantity with quality
Hello Sir, I will kindly introduce myself.. This is Shivakumar. We have a team to type capcthas 24/7 and we can type more than 200k captchas per day
WE ARE PROFESSIONAL CAPCHA ENTRY OPEATORS AND WE CAN DO EVEN 25000 ENTRIES PER DAY AS MY COMPANY IS A 25 SEATER FIRM SPEALISED IN DATA ENTRY
In Bangladesh at this very minute, a team of international workers is actively soliciting deals for breaking Craigslist, Gmail, Yahoo, MySpace, YouTube and Facebook’s CAPTCHA scripts, promising to deliver 250k solved CAPTCHAs per day on a “$2 for a 1000 solved CAPTCHAs” basis.