I really hope that site-pimping isn’t a part of “Social Media Optimization”…

ZDNet writes about companies in India that employ people to spam sites and blogs, and bypass “CAPTCHAs”. CAPTCHAs are the word-verification tests you may have come across while signing up for an email address, a social networking site, or commenting on a blog or an orkut members scrapbook. These are designed to prevent automated spamming. An example below (from Gmail signup):

However, where there is money, there is a jugaad (solution): it appears that companies like decaptcher.com offer human powered services to bypass CAPTCHAs.

What Can We Do?
Given that we’re a relatively new site, there haven’t been many instances of “site pimping” (what DeCaptcher calles “advertisements in blogs”). Just last week, someone randomly posted 3 comments with links to an affiliate travel site. With no contact information on the site, I did a “who is” search, called up the owner, and requested they not repeat this. I then deleted the comments. During my previous stint, I used to regularly delete such comments, many of which were from startups who often denied any knowledge of such comments.

How Big Is This Business?
According to ZD Net, India’s CAPTCHA solving economy is booming, and they’ve listed samples of advertisements from Indian service providers who are competing for the money as “PROFESSIONAL CAPCHA ENTRY OPEATORS” (sic). The charges – $1-3 per 1000 entires.

So how big do you think India’s CAPTCHA solving economy is, in terms of turnover?