Monthly Archives: November 2012

Site Maintenance For a Few Hours

We are doing an update to our database for Captcha support and this is likely to take several hours. The site will be in maintenance during this time. Apologies for the inconvenience.

More on CAPTCHA Support

We now have over 20 CAPTCHA sites being tested in the system. This testing is proving to be very valuable as it shows us that right now the success rates are not good enough to take the captcha system live just yet.

As you may know, we implement an intelligent retry system for certain failures. We use many different proxies to perform the submissions (to spread out the IP’s and keep them changing), but proxies are never as good as a direct connection so it’s common to get timeouts and general server errors. Plus, some sites simply perform better than others.

Because of this, many errors do not cause a direct failure – the submission is retried several times over a period of 12-24 hours depending on the circumstances. All of these are logged so we can see exactly how well a site is performing.

In the case of captcha sites we have a new set of problems that can crop up, the most common of which is that the ‘solved’ captcha is in fact incorrect. The most common captcha system in use today is ReCaptcha and they throw out some really illegible captchas at times! The issue with a failure of this kind is that a charge is made regardless of whether or not the captcha is solved correctly so we have to be careful to control the number of retries in order to keep the costs at an acceptable level.

What we are going to do in essence, is give more leeway to higher PR sites. A lowly PR1 is not worth the cost of many retries but for a high quality PR5 site we really want to get that submission to work!

In the last post I explained that the system of Captcha Credits we are going to implement will take into account the PR of the site. This was initially decided in order to encourage members to submit only their very best content to the best sites because we want to ensure that we play extremely nicely with the big contenders so there is no risk of our accounts being banned. With a higher PR site costing more credits than a lower one, you’ll need to be picky about what you submit to those.

This fits in very nicely with our retry system. We have more credits at our disposal for a higher PR site so we can afford to retry the submission many times in order to push it through successfully. Therefore the PR of the site will be used directly to influence this retry mechanism.

What that means in practical terms is that the low quality PR1, PR2 captcha sites are going to have to perform well in order to make the cut. At the moment we have done a blanket test without any retries at all to see just how well the captchas perform without brute force and we are seeing failure rates as high as 50% on some sites!

We always aim for over 90% success (many of our regular sites have 100% success rate which is nice!) so if a PR1 captcha site consistently fails it will not make it past the trial stage. There are a huge number of PR1 sites out there, but how many of them will perform well enough with our system remains to be seen…

The good news is that we’re also finding lots of juicy higher PR sites to include!

As a side note, you may have noticed a whole bunch of PR0 sites currently in our list. This is due to the recent Google updates – many bookmark (and article) sites have had their PR level dropped and many have been dropped to 0 or unranked. We don’t want PR0’s in our system!

Luckily, we have recently discovered some new tools for finding and incorporating fresh sites into the system and we have many new sites on trial now. We should have enough to replace all of those PR0’s over the next couple of weeks.

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