Friday, February 18, 2005

Key to discouraging online scams: voicemail?

Wired News has an intteresting article today (link goes to the text-only version) about a company called WholeSecurity, who has come up with an intriguing solution for discouraging scam artists on the web; at the end of signing up for a new online registration, instead of being instructed to reply to a final email (which after all, can be automated just like any other online activity), users are required to call a phone number and leave a short voicemail to orally confirm. Not only does the process throw a level of non-automation into the process, it also discourages scam artists from even completing the transaction; most of them, after all, don't want to have recordings of their actual voices on file, or caller-ID records of where they called from.

Pretty smart! I tell ya, I'd happily call a phone number at the end of an online registration process, and leave a short voicemail, if it meant eliminating most of the spammers and automated repliers that come along with a cool website. It just proves something again that I often say at my main journal - no matter how sophisticated the technology, oftentimes it is surprisingly traditional things that lead to innovations with them.