CAPTCHA Quest, Or, How To Not Get My Business

Brief post/break from my very busy day.

In searching for a cheap SMS sending solution I stumbled upon a company I had never heard of. Cheap prices, easy to set up. It looked intriguing.

The rates they specified were very non-specific though. I looked around and couldn’t find anything very concrete. Everything looked a little cheaper than their big competitor (who they called out by name, not a great sign), but I couldn’t find any monthly fee, which seemed unusual in their space.

I make an account. To get to the account creation page there is a captcha. To click submit on the account creation, there is a captcha. To confirm my email, guess what there is? A captcha. I’m getting frustrated.

Finally, I’m able to login (captcha), and I am greeted with “Set up your Phone Number. Help us keep your account secure.”

I don’t care if my account is secure. I’m not giving you any payment information until I know what your rates are. “Okay, I’ll just hit ‘skip this step’,” I think, but there is no skip button to be found—to use the service, I have to give them a phone number.

Fine. This is what Google Voice numbers are for, and I put in my Voice number and hit submit. Just to be REALLY sure this time, I’m given another captcha. I ace the captcha, and it says, “this is an invalid number.”

“Maybe they don’t take Google Voice numbers,” I think, but then I see there’s a little box next to the phone number where I’m supposed to choose what region my phone number is in. You must be truly worthy to use this service, and to prove my worth, I am given another captcha after I select my region. I hit submit, and I get another captcha.

Completing the final captcha, I get the victory message: “This phone number is not allowed. Please input a different number.”

I get the feeling that this company doesn’t want customers, because they’ve put up roadblocks at every single step. I am not giving my personal number to a company I know nothing about, especially when all I wanted was to get more information about their rates.

To learn the moral of this story, please complete this captcha.

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