Startup Transforms Annoying Captchas Into Ad Opportunity

captchaWith a new ad platform unveiled today, start-up Solve Media aims to address a common consumer headache while providing a new revenue source for publishers.

Solve’s TYPE-INTM platform provides an alternative to the Captcha (define), that computer-generated box of wavy type commonly used by publishers to authenticate users when they register or comment.

Consumers hate the durned things, and Solve says that they take an average of 14 seconds to complete. TYPE-INTM promises to cut that time in half. The ad platform replaces the blurry letters and numbers with a display ad that includes a phrase in quotes which site visitors need to type to authenticate themselves. For example, instead of the black-and-white text box, a site visitor might see a full-color ad with a photo for Toyota, and be asked to type in “Star Safety System.”

The requirement to type in the ad’s key message shows that the consumer has read and comprehended the content, Solve claims. The company says engagement rates have exceeded 40 percent, compared with an engagement rate of 1 percent or less for typical digital display ads. Advertisers pay only for correct entries.

Marty Collins, emerging media lead at Microsoft, said in a press release that TYPE-INTM accesses previously untapped consumer attention. “Our recent Internet Explorer campaign saw 41 percent brand lift for safety attributes, which was substantiated in our recent comScore report,” he said.

Solve Media’s platform includes brand survey and insight research capabilities, engagement analytics, the ability to target, re-target and re-market, as well as video and rich media ad units.

The company is backed in part by AOL Ventures, and it says that Toyota, Microsoft, Universal Pictures, AOL, Tribune, and Meredith Publishing have signed on.

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