Blogger Use Of Mobile / Smart Phones As A Token, Augmenting / Replacing CAPTCHA Verification

Blogger has been using CAPTCHA ("word verification") screening, to verify human presence in various Blogger processes, for several years. This is necessary, to prevent spammers from automating the processes of creating new blogs, and submitting "unlock" requests for spam locked blogs. CAPTCHA verification has its weaknesses though; and as spammers have been exploiting those weaknesses for some time, Blogger recently added additional tokens in some Blogger processes.

You may be required to provide the number of your mobile / smart phone, as a token.
  • When you setup a new blog.
  • When you submit a request to have your blog unlocked after being (falsely) classified as spam.
  • When you attempt to publish too many posts in one day.

This requires that your phone receive / send SMS messages from / to Blogger, to verify your identity as a person, and not an automated process.
  1. You provide the phone number of an SMS capable mobile phone.
  2. Blogger sends a verification request message to that number.
  3. You reply to the message, and back to Blogger.
  4. Your existence as a human is now verified, and your blog can be setup (spam review can be started, post can be published).

SMS, unfortunately, is not a universally available service, on all mobile / smart phones. This creates a challenge for a few bloggers, when otherwise stressed by the situation at hand. SMS is a protocol that works best when used between phones using a common phone service. All phone services do not exchange SMS messages with all other phone services, as reliably as they interchange Internet and voice service.

This shortcoming is most common, but not uniquely so, between Blogger / Google (in North America) and various services in Asia, Africa, and other third world regions. Some phone services in North America do not have universally available SMS networks, either. People without access to a mobile / smart phone with SMS service are being left unable to make new blogs, unlock their blogs, and / or publish more than 50 posts / day.

One odd omission in CAPTCHA / SMS token use is the process of resetting forgotten passwords to Blogger and Google accounts. Blogger password resets are so easily executed that some bloggers are apparently using password resets routinely - simply remembering their email account names and passwords, and not bothering to remember Blogger accounts / passwords. This technique becomes a problem only when the email account used goes down, or is discontinued.

Using mobile / smart phone tokens seems like an excellent application for password resets, if for anything.

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