Captchas To Sell E-Commerce? Sigh

Is nothing sacred? Those innocuous captchas, the little boxes designed to defeat SPAM bots and force visitors to identify themselves as people, are now being eyed as advertising platforms. At least one vendor is pushing a program that forces people to type in advertising phrases instead of random characters. This approach has the sneaky benefit of burning that ad message into the consumer's head, which is the logic behind forcing forgetful students to write something 100 times.

But could this become an E-Commerce—instead of an advertising—tool? Could Amazon make visitors type in the name of a popular bestseller? During blizzards in certain areas, perhaps the Wal-Mart message could be "$8 snow scraper"? Maybe the Apple site would require visitors to write "iPhone4 Makes Droid Cry." Oh, I forgot. It already does.