The Basics

What is a CAPTCHA and why would I need to use one on my site?

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. (Yes, it really should be “CAPTTTCHA.” Don’t blame us; we’re not the ones who made up the term.) It’s a type of challenge test used on web sites to verify that the transaction taking place—the comment being posted, the account being registered, the vote being cast in a poll—is coming from a human and not a computer program.

In addition to the examples mentioned above, CAPTCHA are used to block registration spam and contact form spam, to prevent scrapers from stealing email addresses and search bots from accessing private data, to deter dictionary password search attacks, and to preempt servers from getting bogged down by spam and malicious scripts. For more on CAPTCHA, check out our sweet infographic.

How does PlayThru handle mobile environments?

PlayThru is built to be mobile ready—no separate version required. It performs beautifully on iOS, Android, and other mobile devices. We automatically detect the user’s device and serve a mobile-optimized game where appropriate.

How long does PlayThru take to complete?

On average, it takes a user 10 – 12 seconds to complete a PlayThru. Even better, users perceived PlayThru as being 50% faster than a standard text CAPTCHA.

How does PlayThru serve colorblind or visually impaired users?

For our colorblind users, PlayThru has multiple levels of visual identification, including the shape and markings of the objects, that can be used to identify the correct images.

For our visually impaired users, we have an audio fallback that conforms to screen-reader technology standards. We are also in the process of developing audio games, so stay tuned! It’s important to us that everyone has the same great experience with PlayThru.

I love this, but I don’t have a site that uses CAPTCHA. How can I help?

Help us spread the word to other sites and businesses that do use CAPTCHA! Tweet about us, or get in touch with us on Facebook. And if you’re frustrated with a site that’s an especially bad CAPTCHA offender, contact us and let us know about it.


How do I install PlayThru on my site?

Installing PlayThru on your site is easy! Just sign up for an account, and you’ll be guided through the setup process.

What libraries, plugins, and languages do you support?

Here’s our full list of installation options. We’re adding more all the time—if there’s one you’d like to use specifically, please let us know.

What are Publisher Keys and Scoring Keys, and why do I need them?

We use these keys to ensure that PlayThrus are being served by people we trust and to make sure they are scored correctly:

  1. The Publisher Key is used to request a new game from our web service. It is also tied to a specific publisher account and the associated settings.
  2. The Scoring Key is a private key that only you know (please don’t share it with anyone). It is used to authorize a score request from our web service, and it gives us confidence that you are the one requesting a score request.

Our blog has more details about how our keys are used.

I need help! How do I get support?

We’d love to help! Visit our support forum, or use the blue chat box in the bottom right corner of this page.


What is the difference between ‘Lightbox’ and ‘Embedded’ game styles?

The game style option allows you to chose how PlayThru is displayed on your site.

With Lightbox, PlayThru appears overlaid on the page after a user submits your form. Lightbox is our recommended method.


Embedded allows you to display PlayThru inside your form, wherever you choose.


You can switch between Lightbox and Embedded game styles in the Portal.

Please note that if you are using IP.Board, vBulletin, or Joomla, only Embedded mode is supported.

What are game themes?

If you have our Personalized or Professional plan, you can choose from among several different sets of themed games. The current themes are:

  • All: All PlayThrus
  • Sports: Sports-themed PlayThrus
  • Food: Food-themed PlayThrus
  • Male and Female: PlayThrus targeted at one gender
  • Holiday: Holiday-themed PlayThrus
  • Worldwide: All PlayThrus, minus those that are U.S.-centric
  • Spanish, French, and German: PlayThrus in other languages.

How do I create a custom PlayThru?

We can work with you to create a custom game for your site as part of our Enterprise plan, starting at $299/month. Contact us to learn more.

Is there a limit to the number of PlayThrus I can serve?

There is no limit—all of our plans include unlimited PlayThrus. However, if you expect to serve a significant number of PlayThrus, we’d appreciate it if you’d get in touch with us to coordinate.

What languages does PlayThru support?

PlayThru is available in Spanish, German, and French as part of our Personalized plan. Learn more about our multilingual support →

Branded PlayThrus

What are branded PlayThrus?

Branded PlayThrus are games that are sponsored by our brand partners. They use the same interaction dynamics as our other games, but they ask you to perform an action that’s related to the brand.

United Way game Bropicana game

Example branded games

Additionally, some branded games may have a custom end screen that promotes the brand or displays links where you can learn more.

United Way end screen Bropicana end screen

Can I turn off branded games?

Serving branded games is what enables us to offer PlayThru free of charge. However, we’re more than happy to negotiate payment for PlayThru in lieu of serving branded games. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss setting this up for your site.

Can I make money from the branded games that are shown on my site?

Absolutely! We’ll share the revenue we get from advertisers with you, making PlayThru an awesome revenue generator for your site. Our standard program is a 70/30 revenue split, where publishers get 30% of the ad revenue. For larger sites, we can negotiate terms individually. Contact us to learn more.

How and when do I get paid?

In a future update, you’ll be able to see how many branded games your site has served and how much revenue you’ve earned from within the Portal. Once your account has reached the $200 threshold, you will be able to request a check from us.

More details about the payment process are coming soon.

What if my site already has existing relationships with advertisers?

That’s great! We can coexist alongside your current advertisers, or work with them to help incorporate PlayThru into their advertising strategy. Contact us and let’s talk!

The Technology

What technologies does PlayThru use?

PlayThru uses HTML5 and JavaScript, with Adobe Flash as a fallback. It automatically checks a user’s browser specs and serves the appropriate version, whether mobile, desktop, modern or ancient browser.

Do you use SSL?

Yes, all of our transactions are performed over a secure connection.

How does PlayThru handle large traffic and high peaks?

We’ve built a highly scalable and redundant architecture that we’ve load tested to the most extreme situations. By aggregating the traffic patterns of thousands of websites, we’re able to support larger traffic spikes at smaller cost than each site could individually. You know that song “Tubthumping,” by Chumbawamba? The one that goes, “I get knocked down, but I get up again?” We’re like that, except we don’t even get knocked down in the first place.