Are You a Human? | Preventing Spam on Your Membership Site

CaptchaAs your site grows, a feature that will probably be important for you … no matter what WordPress membership plugin you use will be some kind of signup spam prevention.

One thing you should know about me is that I literally hate Captchas … most people do. In addition to people hating Captchas, there is significant evidence that they can lower conversion rates. Because of these things we’ve intentionally held off on putting a solution in place for Captchas … in favor of some more elegant, behind the scenes methods of spam prevention.

We are still holding out on the Captchas but now in MemberPress there are three options for preventing spam signups: a honeypot, authenticity token and now the ability to add an “Are You A Human” game to your registration page.

First, we put what is called a “Honeypot” on the product registration form. The idea is that there’s a hidden text field on the product registration form … if a spam bot enters a value in this hidden text field (these bots typically try to enter something into each field within a form) then the registration fails. This has actually been quite effective for the lion’s share of customers using our WordPress membership plugin — but not all.

Additionally we added an optional feature called the “authenticity token” … this is not only effective for many of our customers but is also an effective deterrent to some types of website attacks.

Even though both of these techniques can preserve a good user experience and are effective for a large set of our customers, there are still some customers that still have issues with spam signups. So for this reason, we’ve now created a new add-on that will allow you to use the “Are You a Human” captcha alternative. If you haven’t seen this in action … this will pop up a small mini-game for your user to complete after they fill out the registration form:

Are You a Human

We recently discovered “Are You a Human” and really liked it compared to the Captcha alternative. Clearly, this method is not as nice as our other spam prevention methods (which don’t require the user to do anything to prove their humanity) but is just as effective as a Captcha (the sites we’ve used this on no longer get spam signups at all), much less annoying and definitely more fun.

This add-on is not listed on our official add-ons page yet because it only works with our most recent Edge release at this point. But if you’d like to put it in place today, just download it from our Github page:

Download

About Blair Williams

Blair is the creator of MemberPress. He is an experienced Software Developer who has created large scale web apps for scores of businesses. He now focuses on WordPress and Ruby development -- in particular the WordPress plugins and services he has created: MemberPress, Pretty Link Pro, Affiliate Royale and Buy Now for Stripe. You can read his blog by visiting BlairWilliams.com.