Captchas on LinkedIn

I’ve noticed last week that LinkedIn started displaying a CAPTCHA every time I signed in. I thought it may have just been my account, so I asked around and realized they were appearing for everyone I work with. It’s the first time I have seen CAPTCHAs in use for each sign in, as opposed to each sign up. In my opinion a CAPTCHA on sign in is over the top, and the particular CAPTCHA implementation LinkedIn used was too cryptic, and in discussing this with colleagues I found it was not uncommon to try three or more attempts before being able to log in. Making it very difficult for users to log into your product or service means they’ll use it less. To quote Steve Krug who quotes his wife in Don’t Make Me Think:  “if something is hard to use, I just don’t use it as much”.

I was slightly relieved today to see that LinkedIn changed their CAPTCHA images to the popular reCAPTCHA. But after the first CAPTCHA quickly expired?!? (maybe to quickly timeout human solvers), I then realized what they were asking me to type in included a degree sign. Seriously? How do I type that in? There’s no key for that on my keyboard. Do you seriously want me to open up my character map and copy and paste it in? Will an average user even know how to do that?

I was beginning to think it was just me, that I am started to get too fussy and frustrated with technology, but a two second search on twitter confirms that’s not the case. Imagine having your customers saying these things about you:

  • @leightonhubbell: The @linkedin Captcha also doesn’t work too well on a mobile phone for logging in either. Clunky.
  • @NabilHarfoush: The Captcha of #LinkedIn log-in is driving me nuts. Now with Greek and accented letters!! WTF? #FAIL
  • @cabteix: @LinkedIn I’m considering leaving you because of that stupid captcha
  • @jgimer: RT @realex_tracy: Completing the CAPTCHA every time I log into LinkedIn is beginning to annoy me <- More motivation for evasion research. :)
  • @stevendiz: Hey #linkedin, I have no desire to fill in a damn captcha form EVERY time I use your site.
  • @highrockmedia: On @LinkedIn, why is there now a captcha after I authenticate with valid credentials? #uifail
  • @abishek: +1 RT @yaron_think_ver Recently I’ve been getting a captcha test each time I log in to #LinkedIn. What’s up with that? #Annoying
  • @MacBeer: @linkedin For what reason are you harassing clients with CAPTCHA “security” screens at each log in?
  • @guyindfw: Hey @LinkedIn – Captcha after signin is really, really, really, annoying. *sigh*
  • @DebbieHazelton: me too! RT @darrell: RT @TimNoonan: LinkedIn’s new useless verification CAPTCHA is discouraging me from using it so much :(

So, the big question is, are LinkedIn creating passionate users? I’ll let you decide.

Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.

3 thoughts on “Captchas on LinkedIn”

      1. These captchas, fortunately, accept “approximate” words and would likely be ok with you not using a degree sign, just like they ignore lack of “umlauts” and such.

        Still, this is the dumbest idea Linkedin came up with. I just don’t feel like bothering to log in anymore.


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