Are "Type-In" CAPTCHAs the future of online ads?

On our list of 100 Things to Watch in 2011, we forecast that brands would start leveraging CAPTCHAs—the distorted letters that must be typed into a box to proceed with a purchase or other online activity—by requiring users to type in relevant words or slogans. Solve Media, the company that’s been touting this idea, said in June that its so-called Type-In ads racked up 1 billion-plus engagements last year and that it expects to reach 4 billion in 2013.

Now there’s another idea in this space: PlayCaptcha, from Future Ad Labs in London, gamifies the process. For instance, a Heinz game requires visitors to add some virtual Salad Cream into a sandwich, and users must clean a dirty digital penny by dragging it to a bowl of Reckitt Benckiser’s Cillit Bang. Engagement, which is less annoying than deciphering bizarre lettering, is guaranteed.

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