The days of typing illegible letters and numbers in order to purchase concert tickets are coming to an end: Ticketmaster announced today (January 31) that they will no longer rely on CAPTCHAs to determine whether a ticket-buyer is human.
CAPTCHAs, short for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, were supposed to prevent automated software (BOTS) from swooping onto the box office site and gobbling up all the hot tickets, which would then be sold on the more lucrative secondary market, to fans' dismay. However, BOTS are so embedded in the Ticketmaster system that all CAPTCHAs did was frustrate tactual ticket buyers.
Over the past decade or so, Ticketmaster has employed an army of different CAPTCHAs, each more inscrutable than the last, that did more to confound flesh-and-blood users than to actually thwart the scalping software. In short, the CAPTCHAs actually assisted the BOTS in screwing over the humans, and we're pretty sure that's the same plot as Terminator 2.
The new system, brainstormed by Solve Media, will require ticket buyers to answer well-known phrases or multiple choice questions, cognitive stuff the BOTS can't dance around, the BBC reports. "While an important step in blocking BOTS, we know the current CAPTCHA solution has been a frustrating part of buying tickets for fans," Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard said in a statement. "By working with Solve Media and deploying our own innovative mobile solution, we're leading the industry forward through our buying experience and the aggressive fight against BOTS." The Solve Media solution is slowly being rolled out across the Ticketmaster platform, and early results show that humans need only seven seconds to answer a Solve Media inquiry, as opposed to the average 14 seconds it takes us to decipher a CAPTCHA.