CAPTCHA Economics

CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) are the distorted text puzzles that are designed to keep spammers out of websites.  Although some AI systems have been developed to solve CAPTCHAs the market has discovered that it is cheaper to farm out the problems to workers in developing countries.

Here is an amazingly detailed investigation from researchers at UC San Deigo of the market for solving CAPTCHAs.

Bottom line:

  • Prices run about $1 per thousand CAPTCHAs solved, depending on the time of
    day and demand.
  • The median response time to solve a CAPTCHA is 14
    seconds and accuracy runs about 90%.
  • “[T]he
    business of solving CAPTCHAs,…is a well developed, highly-competitive industry with the capacity to solve on the order of a million CAPTCHAs per

Hat tip: Mim’s Bits.


Comments for this post are closed