Why do do new or moderately trafficked sites insist on using a <a href="CAPTCHA on their registration form? A CAPTCHA is a simple test to verify an actual person is using the computer and not a machine, usually in the form of a “type the letters in this graphic” question. They are used primarily to thwart spam bots roaming the web.

Sites create an unnecessary roadblock to user adoption, and it seems to be becoming more common. The problem is, these tests can be unintelligible and a normal user can’t pass it. If you’re MySpace or Facebook and getting thousands of registrations a day, then it makes sense to worry about thwarting the bots, but until then, please dump the CAPTCHAs. Use email verification instead, which you probably do anyway, so no need to beat up your users before they’re actually users with too many tests.

Today, after 5 attempts, I failed my CAPTCHA test at fatsecret (techcrunch coverage). It looked interesting, I wanted to see how they did some things as the idea is similar, feature-wise, to what we do with personal finance on NetworthIQ. Plus, I could stand to lose a few, so maybe it could help me out. But, now we’ll never know for sure because I can’t sign up.