How CAPTCHA Forms *KILL* Your Leads. Ouch!

Services for Real Estate Pros with Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX)

I know you've been there and done that.

You went to a website that has that "annoying text box" at the bottom of the form fill that forces you to enter in a random set of numbers and letters into it.

You TRY to read the morphed letters and often, you fail two or three times as you enter in the cryptic code.

Well, as it turns out -- there's a lot of people (like you) that hate filling in those stupid little boxes just to verify they're human and not a SPAM BOT.

 Confusing CAPTCHA Form


FACT: CAPTCHA Forms can catch SPAM. But did you KNOW they can also ROB you from getting leads?  It's true. 

Research was done on 50 websites with and without CAPTCHA forms on them and the results were pretty darn interesting.


  • 2,156 total conversions were entered while the CAPTCHA was on.
  • 11 total SPAM conversions while the CAPTCHA was on.
  • 159 total failed conversions while the CAPTCHA was on.
  • (see chart below)


CAPTCHA ON = LESS Leads. Ouch.




  • 2,134 total conversions were entered while the CAPTCHA was off.
  • 91 total SPAM conversions while the CAPTCHA was off.
  • 0 total failed conversions while the CAPTCHA was off.
  • (see chart below)


CAPTCHA = OFF. Yay. MORE Leads. Woopee!





This does not necessarily mean you are going to have to put up with SPAM sifting to find the one lead you want like searching for a needle in a haystack.  


SPAM bots love form fields. It doesn't matter who you are. Sooner or later your blog, your real estate website will get it's share of SPAM bots trying to inject SPAM into your server.


Removing CAPTCHA doesn't mean you're left 100% defenseless.  You have tools you can use to help combat SPAM.


It's called the "Honeypot CAPTCHA," trick. It's an old and proven tool that web developers have used to help catch the SPAM Bots for the past few years without having to insert the confusing, morphed letter CAPTCHA forms that nobody can read.


Here's how it works.


Step 1. Build your Web page form as usual.


Step 2. Go BACK and now ADD just (one) hidden text field that remains hidden from a HUMAN viewer but not the BOTs.


This is tricky, for step #2 because there's not a lot of REALTORs I know that know HOW to program a CSS script.


CSS means: Cascading Style Sheet.  And this is a scripting language based on Javascript that takes a bit of time to learn.  My advice, don't try to learn it unless you are already well-versed in scripting languages and have three years or more at being a DreamWeaver Jedi Master. 


If the script below seems like rocket science to you, then hire a college kid. Pay them $25 bucks and get them to install it. It will take them less than one hour to do this. 



The script detects (text) inside a form field that was SUPPOSED TO BE BLANK and stops the mail from coming to you.


You can even deliver a nicely worded, "AcK! You're a SPAMMER. Ha Ha. Nailed You!"  Message to them automatically if that makes you feel any better. 


This action allows humans to send you emails, but not the SPAM BOTs. 


Here's what you need to give to your local Webmaster to create the HONEY POT SPAM trick on all your web forms:


REMARKS is the field that is SEEN by humans when they come to your web form.


ROBOTS will see the additional one called COMMENTS as the invisible form field.  < !-- SEE IT IN RED BELOW -- > 


<form action="submit.php" method="post">

<p>Name * :

<input name="name" type="text" id="name">



<p>Email * :

<input name="email" type="text" id="email">



<p>Fname * :

<input name="fname" type="text" id="fname"> 



<p>Phone * :

<input name="phone" type="text" id="phone">



<p>Remarks * :

<input name="remarks" type="text" id="remarks"> <!--  The REAL one seen by Humans -->




<p>Comments * :

<input name="comments" type="text" id="Comments"> <!--  INVISIBLE one seen only by BOTS -->



<p> <input type="submit" name="Submit" value="Submit"></p>



Below is the string that HIDES the EXTRA COMMENTS field from humans, but shows it to ROBOTS ONLY. Humans will see the form REMARKS but not the one marked COMMENTS. Only the SPAM BOTs see both. 


<style type="text/css">

.honey {





This is the PHP script that checks to see if the COMMENTS field contains any post data and you can insert an apporpriate GO AWAY message that can be fun, taunt or contain a color metaphor if you wish.




echo 'Thanks for contacting us. Bob the Broker or Alice the Agent will be contacting you soon.';


echo 'Don't you have anything else BETTER to do than try to shove Viagra offers into my mail box? GO AWAY!';




<!-- NOTE: The comments value above IF it Equals blank, then show the Thanks for contacting us... message will appear. (else) if the field contains data, then (echo) SHOW the "nasty message you want to tell them" here -->




I hope my notes above help you understand the simple coding above. Because this one trick will help you cuto down on the SPAM in 2013 while NOT sacrificing any potential leads coming your way.


There's a lot of cool things you can do in 2013 to help you get MORE LEADS and less SPAM.  This is just one of them.


We are removing ALL CAPCHAs from our website this week and are going to the Honeypot CAPTCHA trick. 


If you'd like MORe HELP on this CAPTCHA trick, we can install this on your website if you like.  Just give me a ring at 719-645-9940 or email me sometime. 


Merry Christmas to all of you, and may you all enjoy a Happy and Propserous New Year. 


Posted by

Bart Wilson | CIO
Virtual Pictures Corp (VPiX®)  
iPhone: (719) 645-9940  |  Skype:  vpix360 


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 12/25/2012 04:30 AM
  2. Keith Ritter 12/26/2012 12:56 PM
Real Estate Best Practices
Tech Corner
Internet Lead Generation-How Best To Capture Your Audience
captcha forms

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Linda Calhoun
Calhoun Real Estate - Red River, NM
Selling Red River since 1962!
Thanks for the insight. On my new website I have a captcha and get more spam now than I ever did without one. I looke forward to looking at your post more closely when I get to the office.
Dec 25, 2012 11:03 AM #6
Christina Sanchez Hood
Palo Alto, CA
#SiliconValleyHOODS | Inspired Living
Bart, congrats on the feature. So much to learn about running an online business. Great to know that you are here to help provide helpful information with great care and research.
Dec 25, 2012 11:33 AM #7
Joel Weihe
Realty World Alliance - Wichita, KS
Helping you to use your VA home loan benefits

I know only because I hate filling those and will move on if convenient. In real estate there are thousands more sites out there that do the same thing.

Dec 25, 2012 12:04 PM #8
Larry Story
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate


I understand since I can not even read those Captcha letters at times.  

Dec 25, 2012 12:22 PM #9
Bartley Wilson
Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX) - Monument, CO
VR Software and 360° Solutions

It's a simple form, but one that will help you get rid of spam and not make people upset when they try to fill out your forms and contact you, schedule a showing appointment, etc.

-- bart  

Dec 25, 2012 12:24 PM #10
Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker
I just learned that spam bots like fill in forms. I just had to remove one of my pages on my website. It at up data allocation.
Dec 25, 2012 01:04 PM #11
Suzi Sandore
RealtyONEGroup - San Diego, CA
North County San Diego Homes

I thought I was the only one that couldn't figure out captcha codes. I had no idea that the thing is killing leads. I've bookmarked your blog post and will work on my website tomorrow. Thanks for the information and solution to the problem. 

Dec 25, 2012 01:10 PM #12
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Bart - I understand the concept if not the code and think it's great. Merry Christmas.
Dec 25, 2012 04:01 PM #13
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Great analysis and great solution.  I have the same question as Praful.  What do you think about simpler spam filters?  Mine is pretty simple for a human.  It just asks you to add two numbers.  The captcha code is incredibly annoying and I fail that one all the time, but this one seems to do the trick and shouldn't be causing people to leave (at least I think).

Dec 25, 2012 07:19 PM #14
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Good morning Bart - this is a tremendous help to everyone, and thank you so much for sharing! I'm pretty sure it's beyond my technology skills, but I'm forwarding this to our webmaster!

Dec 25, 2012 09:13 PM #15
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

I could use that for my wordpress blogs. . some days I get hammered by spam-comments from Russia & India. . 

Is all about a balance and knowing when to us it. . 

Even Google does it. .

Dec 25, 2012 09:54 PM #16
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Bart, I've also run into this where you have to type in the morphed letters three and four times before it is accepted. Thanks for the tip on the honeypot CAPTCHA trick. I will implement it.

Dec 25, 2012 10:13 PM #17
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I absolutely hate those forms and if I cannot "get it" after 2 tries, I move on, unless it something I absolutely have to complete!

Dec 25, 2012 10:52 PM #18
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I have had experiences were if you don't get it right, the whole data form is erased..WHOA. End result: I am out of here!

Dec 25, 2012 10:59 PM #19
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Bart  I cant stand those forms either.. I had use one this am ... took me three tries to make it...  great post.

Dec 25, 2012 11:50 PM #20
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

Cool, thanks for sharing.  I'd prefer to use this method over the captcha.

Dec 26, 2012 12:20 AM #21
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Bart, I've heard that over time, they can figure out what to put in those boxes, but who knows. If I ever get my site up to this point, I'll search out your blog and put this in. Thanks.

Dec 26, 2012 04:29 AM #23
Eva Aliaga
Partnership Realty Inc - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton & Delray Beach: SE Florida Real Estate

It is annoying trying to figure those words, I usually keep refreshing the page till I can read it.

Dec 26, 2012 04:46 PM #24
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Bart- interesting figures.  And, I agree... those captcha things may be meant for spam but look at the leads you're losing.  

Dec 27, 2012 11:07 AM #25

Hi Bart! I have just stumbled accross this post searching for how effective CAPTCHA actually is. I am amazed at how much difference it makes! I have always suspected it would be the case though. I hate CAPTCHA so much and find them so hard to read I started using CAPTCHA bypass software called RUMOLA so I would never have to fill them in again!

Dec 30, 2012 06:38 PM #26
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