Solve Media Transforms CAPTCHAs Into Ad Dollars
What if the borderline-indecipherable cluster of characters that must be punched in to post interactive comments and make online purchases could be repackaged as clearly visible words carrying marketing slogans for brand advertisers and a new revenue stream for publishers? In other words, instead of typing a bundle of cluttered letters, users might enter “Moving Forward” (Toyota) or “Nothing Like A Pepper” (Dr. Pepper). Sounds like a win-win-win for all parties. That’s what Solve Media is banking on with the release of a secure platform that allows advertisers to layer messages as coded CAPTCHAs that readers must pass through to access particular pages.
CAPTCHA is a security program designed to protect Web sites against bots by issuing “grading tests” such as interpreting distorted characters that only humans can decode. For instance, when setting up a Gmail account, a user must complete a word verification like the one below.
Solve Media has already recruited a fleet of national advertisers to join the pilot, businesses as diverse as Toyota, Microsoft, Universal Pictures and Dr. Pepper. Publishers jumping on board with ad-supported CAPTCHAs include AOL, Meredith Corp. and Tribune Co.
The value proposition for both parties is straightforward and alluring. Advertisers assume higher engagement because users must actually type in their message to access the requested page. As a result, Solve Media is able to charge on a per-engagement basis rather than CPM, perhaps with premiums as high as 25 cents to 50 cents per “type-in,” according to CEO Ari Jacoby (formerly a cofounder of VoiceStar, which sold to Marchex in 2007). The hope is that this will be an antidote to banner blindness and search clutter by necessitating action engagements.
Publishers enjoy a revenue slice from Solve Media for integrating the type-ins on their Web sites … and just as critical, do not have to invest any auxiliary costs to build out new platforms or content. “We’re making money in an area where we hadn’t before,” Andy Wilson, Meredith Publishing VP of digital marketing, told Ad Age.
Naturally, questions about security arise considering the ease of use that Solve Media is injecting into a purposely intricate coding system designed to block digital interlopers.
“We built a robust security platform that we battle tested for the better part of a year before layering on advertising technologies,” Jacoby told BIA/Kelsey. “We maintain the security that high-quality publishers are accustomed to, and we can ratchet it up or down depending upon their needs. We monitor traffic 24/7 from our NOC in Philadelphia, and each discreet image served is pixelated differently.”
The technology platform is a problem-solving solution and ad-enabling product, leading BIA/Kelsey to highlight Solve Media as an influential mover in the marketplace. “Solve Media has delivered a simple yet sophisticated platform with tangible benefits for multiple parties — advertisers, publishers and users,” said Matt Booth, BIA/Kelsey’s program director for Interactive Local Media. “As a result, we think it is positioned to capitalize on a significant market opportunity.”
For more on Solve Media, watch this short video introduction: