GoDaddy and Wild West Domains Latest Big Company Seduced by Google Recaptcha

Google Recaptcha

Google’s Recaptcha service is taking the Internet by storm. The Google Recaptcha service has been around from some time and has been used extensively on small budget websites. Over the years, minor players without a development budget have downloaded the free libraries from Google and helped manage automated logins.

While we do not agree with the premise of the Google’s Recaptcha, nor Google’s overall implementation of a captcha service, we understand that small-time operators of websites need to adopt the mindset of “you gotta do what you gotta do”.

But now, we are noticing many more big names implementing Google Recaptcha on their web properties. However implementing Google Recaptcha on a website comes at the expense of usability and inconvenience to the customer.

We can not believe how shortsighted some of the larger companies have been in implementing the Google Captcha service. It seems that a small group of larger companies started using Google Recaptcha recently, now everybody is following suit.

Maybe they were thinking they would somehow get left behind?

We were very surprised to find that GoDaddy and their private label service, Wild West Domains, have added Google’s Recaptcha service to their WHOIS domain name lookup service.

We realize that Google makes it very “convenient” to implement a captcha service. And because of how Google has designed Recaptcha, the Google Recaptcha service is moderately effective at stopping automated sign ins, but at a very high cost to the end user.

Certainly a company as sophisticated and well funded as GoDaddy can come up with a less intrusive captcha service than Recaptcha. GoDaddy certain has a boat load of visitors and users of their WHOIS service.

If it costs users an extra 10 seconds per domain name lookup using GoDaddy’s redesigned WHOIS page and we were to multiply that by the tens of thousands or maybe even hundreds of thousands of visitors daily, GoDaddy’s design change has just wasted many hours (even days) of human productivity. And this is on a daily basis. Not to mention the end-user annoyance factor of having to answer Google Recaptcha’s increasingly complex and outrageous “security” questions.

FULL DISCLOSURE:

There are a number of political reason to not wanting to help Google with their Recaptcha goals. Quite simply, many do not agree with Google’s premise and/or operational plans.

Google is using their Recaptcha service to get better at recognizing data and images in pictures so that Google can further index the web and do what some consider: “invade, index and publish people’s private lives:. All without disclosure or permission.

Google Recaptcha is feeding into Google’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) development programs by using humans to identify objects that are currently impossible for computers to discern. So this is a Google scheme to use free labor from humans to help computers to “learn”.

And now the big companies are helping Google.

Big time.

This is not theory or conjecture, the complaints over Google’s Recaptcha service are well known/documented:

Some have criticized Google for using reCAPTCHA as a source of unpaid labor. They say Google is unfairly using people around the world to help it transcribe books, addresses, and newspapers without any compensation.

The use of reCAPTCHA has been labelled “a serious barrier to internet use” for people with sight problems or disabilities such as dyslexia by a BBC journalist.

Andrew Munsell, in his article “Captchas Are Becoming Ridiculous” states “A couple of years ago, I don’t remember being truly baffled by a captcha. In fact, reCAPTCHA was one of the better systems I’d seen. It wasn’t difficult to solve, and it seemed to work when I used it on my own websites.” Munsell goes on to state, after encountering a series of unintelligible images that despite refreshing “Again, and again, and again. The captchas were not only difficult for a computer to read, but impossible for a human.” Munsell then provided numerous examples.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReCAPTCHA

NoCAPTCHA_reCAPTCHA

Here is the open letter we sent to Wild West Domains (WWD) / GoDaddy:

We are long time Wild West Domains/GoDaddy customers, managing multiple domain names under multiple accounts.

We are surprised and disappointed that you have decided to redesign your WHOIS support pages to include the Google Recaptcha service. We are not Google customers and do not want to support Google’s business in any way.

We noticed also that certain WWD/Godaddy WHOIS domain name details are not longer freely available on the third party websites we use to monitor our domain portfolio.

Now visitors must go to the Wild West Domains/GoDaddy website, only to be greeted by your implementation of the Google Recaptcha service.

We do not have time to select a car from a picture or discern road signs. It is very annoying which we find to be a complete and utter waste of time. And by the way, we deem your use of the Google Recaptcha service as “information sharing with an undisclosed third party” which very well could be perceived as a violation of your privacy policy.

We too are seeing this practice employed more and more on other websites, only to see the companies using the Recaptcha service reverse course and make things less burdensome for their visitors and customers.

GoDaddy already has a captcha service which is not too onerous, so we do not understand the need to deploy third party libraries to implement a captcha.

Please rethink this.

And we certainly do not want your use of the Google Recaptcha service expanded to become a gate to our WWD/GoDaddy account logins and other business we have with you. Granted this has not happened yet, but if it does then it will not be a positive development.

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