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Why Does Submitting a Form Require Two Steps?

Many form processors let visitors submit a form in only one step: users fill in the form, and are done after pressing the submit button. With FormSmarts, there is an extra confirmation step, during which users are invited to review and confirm the information submitted. There are two strong reasons why we added the confirmation step.

The first reason is quality. FormSmarts is typically used for transaction where the information submitted is important. Important because the information collected is intended to be read by humans, rather than machines. Important because this information is often intended to be acted upon.


By allowing users to review and modify their submission, we increase the accuracy of the information you get in the end.

Form users understand that, and it increases their confidence that you value the information they are sending you. Most of times, confirmation will only add a few seconds to the whole transaction.

The second reason is security and usability. Many form submissions are automated, or even manual spamming attempts, known as form spam or comment spam.

When a user presses the submit button, a lot more happens on the server than you may suspect. If we spot a likely spamming attempt, we’ll ask the user to complete one or more tests (e.g. CAPTCHA test) on the confirmation page. But in the same time, the bulk of users will never be asked to waste time on a CAPTCHA test.

Posted on April 23rd, 2008 in form handler.
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Are Forms Protected by a CAPTCHA?

CAPTCHA challenge image We often get questions asking whether FormSmarts web forms are protected against automated submissions by a CAPTCHA. A CAPTCHA is a challenge-response test used to determine whether the user is human.

Yes, we do use CAPTCHA tests, but not everytime a form is submitted. Instead, the form handler decides each time whether or not to require a CAPTCHA test (and other verifications), based on unobtrusive analysis by our form spam blocker of the information submitted.

This saves time to every one, and reduces form abandonment.

Asking the user to complete a CAPTCHA test for every form submission affects form usability and accessibility.

Posted on January 11th, 2008 in form builder, form spam.
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Protecting HTML Forms from Spam with JavaScript

If you are looking for a quick way to avoid automated form spam on existing forms, you may want to try this simple JavaScript form spam protection trick. You won’t get a level of form protection (and usability) comparable to what you would get with FormSmarts, but then you can implement the trick on any existing forms, irrespective of the form handler you are currently using.

We plan to offer the ability to use FormSmarts as a form spam filter for third-party forms within a few months. This will effectively allow users of other form processors to benefit from FormSmarts’ form spam protection on their existing HTML forms, with very little change. Details and availability will be advertised here.

Posted on December 25th, 2007 in form spam.
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How Did Comment-Spammers Find My Blog?

Did you ever wonder how comment spammers discovered your blog?

Crawling the Web

One possibility is that the spammer sent out a bot to crawl the web from blog to blog. This requires some infrastructure, and is becoming less effective as more bloggers use some kind of comment spam protection mechanism.

Searching Google

It then becomes more effective for the spammer to simply use Google,
searching for all the pages with the phrase post a comment, but without the terms sign in, register, log in, etc.

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22post+a+comment%22
+-intext%3A%22login%22+-intext%3A%22log+in%22+-intext%3A%22register%22
+-intext%3A%22sign+in%22+-intext%3A%22signin%22+-intext%3A%22sign+up%22
+-intext%3A%22signup%22+-intext%3A%22logged+in

And as an additional benefit, blogs come already sorted by “importance” in the seach results.

Extending the query to restrict results to blogs not using Captchas is left as an exercise to the reader.

What This Means to You

Avoid standard phrases like post a comment on your blog. More creative phrases like Reply to this Post, share your views or letters to the editor may be safer.

Posted on December 12th, 2007 in form spam.
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Form Field Data-Type Guessing

The type of a form field defines the range of values it may contain. Using an appropriate datatype for each input field is important to allow correct form validation. FormSmarts form spam filter also behaves differently, depending on the data expected for each field.

To prevent common mistakes, FormSmarts Form Creator now tries to infer the correct field type from the name you specify. However, if you are unsure about what type is best for a particular field, read the help page.

Posted on December 4th, 2007 in form builder.
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About the Form Builder Blog

The Online Form Builder Blog is published by FormSmarts, a web form service providing all you need to create a form and publish it online in minutes. FormSmarts makes it easy to build a form and embed it on your site. You can then get form submissions by email or store them on FormSmarts and download an Excel report. Learn more about the many other benefits of FormSmarts.