I wrote the following letter to Bob Parsons of GoDaddy Software after learning of his decision to discuss visual verification on his radio show while completely missing the opportunity to properly cover the need for its accessibility!

May 4, 2005

Dear Mr. Parsons,

I am a blind information technology professional, accessibility advocate and
publisher of the Blind Access Journal found at
http://www.blindaccessjournal.com. I just heard from a blind colleague who
called into your Radio Godaddy show on “the human verifier” this evening,
Wednesday, May 4. He indicated that you essentially blew him off totally,
telling him that calling customer service is an acceptable solution.
Companies such as America Online and Yahoo provide this approach to the
accessibility of their visual verification scheme, but calls are often
returned more than a day after the voice mail requesting assistance, if at
all. Google continues to expand its use of visual verification while
providing absolutely no accessible alternatives, despite over six months of
continuous and ever increasing advocacy. In the case of GoDaddy
specifically, the customer service approach seems to work OK since your
support center is immediately available 24×7. I have tried this once. It
worked. The phone was actually answered by a live human being. An equally
accessible alternative for your visual verification, such as audio playback
of the characters, is still ultimately required in order for you to truly be
considered as doing the right thing with respect to equal accessibility and
participation for the blind. Lack of equal accessibility in the information
age is the same as the refusal to serve African Americans in restaurants or
the forcing of African Americans to the back of the bus as late as the

We strongly feel that you have missed an excellent opportunity to educate
the world about the need to make accessible alternatives to visual
verification available to insure that the blind and visually impaired are
able to equally participate on the Internet. We sincerely hope that your
intent is not to discriminate against or otherwise willfully do anything to
purposely exclude us from reaping the obvious benefits the Internet has to
offer. If we are correct, we expect and hope that you will repair some of
your damaged goodwill with your loyal customers in the blind community and our friends and relatives
by taking positive steps to resolve your company’s issues with inaccessible
visual verification and that you will use your blog, radio show and other
venues to educate others on the need for accessibility.


Darrell Shandrow