2005.12.22 11:36 PM

TypePad's New Craptcha

I discovered something interesting today while responding to some comments from folks on various old posts here. It seems that TypePad has instituted an anti-comment-spamming policy that now requires comments meeting these conditions to complete a captcha before being accepted.

Besides being annoyed at not being consulted about this by TypePad (at least I far as I can tell after searching my emails), and also at not being allowed to opt-out, it seems their craptcha also impedes pretty badly on my blog's CSS. So, now, when posting a comment meeting their potential spam criteria, you will leave the comfortable contemporary stylings of ewbi.develops:

And enter the insanely ugly third-world stylings of TypePad's craptcha:

I've opened a support ticket and, in fact, made this post mostly to satisfy their request for screenshots. Stay tuned.

And, if you're trying to leave a comment, my apologies for the visual assault.

Update 12/23/2005 7:00PM

Heard back from TypePad support:

Right now, the comment preview/error page is just a standard format for all users. We are aware that this standard format doesn't look the best in all Advanced designs, and our team is working to make adjustments on this.
At this time, we don't have a template in our Advanced Template sets to allow Advanced Template users to configure this page. However, this is in our plans for the future, so we appreciate you confirming that this would help you.
For some people, they can control what they'd like to display on this comment preview/error screen by using some CSS, so you might take a look at the classes that are used in that screen and see if that would help you.

That's so lame. In other words:

Yeah, it's a problem, we know about it, we don't have a solution, but perhaps you can figure it out.

Why didn't they figure it out before leveling it on me? Why weren't the templates available on day one? Speaking of which, when the hell was day one anyway? Assuming it wasn't today, why aren't the templates available now? Why weren't notifications sent to blog owners utilitizing Advanced Templates to warn them? Or, even better, to work with them to fashion solutions before the roll-out?

Incompetence? Too little regard for paying customers? Who knows. What I do know is that leaving an idiot like me to imagine and propagate answers to these questions all by myself can't be good for business.

Robert Scoble's been apologizing for TypePad's failures recently, so let me consider his suggestions. He says "it doesn’t help to make ad hominem attacks". I suppose this means I ought to be appealing to intellect instead of feelings and prejudices. Okay.

Intellectually speaking, I believe TypePad has shown a serious disregard for their customers by leveling ill-conceived and ill-prepared half-measures, like roughly styled craptcha prompts, on all of their customers without the benefit of adequate preparatory communication and review. Intellectually speaking, this disregard should be sufficient cause for evaluating alternative blog hosting vendors.

On this point, though, Mr. Scoble says that "saying 'I’m going somewhere else' isn’t real rational either. Why? Because who else has a professionally-run data center?" Well, I don't want to be irrational, but how do you figure these folks characterize their data center operations? Or these folks?

Of course, being intellectually honest, I can't deny what Mr. Scoble says about technology, that "sometimes [it] goes south even in the best-planned out systems." In this case, however, I don't believe we're talking about a technology failure. What we're talking about is a planning and execution failure, one that rests squarely with TypePad.

Intellectually speaking, I have to wonder if my $149.50 might be better spent somewhere else?


I would go checkout wordpress. Seems pretty cool and you get a lot for free.

Oh, and screw scoble and his excuses for TypePad. He just doesn't want to be the one that tells everybody to leave and cause a mass exodus. If he loves TypePad so much, why doesn't he use it? Probably because he doesn't feel it is worth the money. Also, you paid these guys to maintain a blog for you, and part of that service shouldn't be pushing back on you to fix a half-implemented feature.

Ryan Rinaldi | 2005.12.27 05:52 AM

Hey Ryan,

Good to hear from you. I'll give Wordpress a look (I noticed that that was what Mr. Scoble was using). Any suggestions about how to handle the address change? I didn't register a domain with TypePad, so I'll wind-up having to take a new name if I move. What are other folks doing in that case?

ewbi.develops | 2005.12.27 11:28 AM


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