I had a really interesting conversation with a guy out of Romania this morning regarding a team of CAPTCHA solvers that he has set up. The basic premise is that he has 5 guys set up to solve CAPTCHAs like Yahoo, MySpace, and Hotmail. He does this for clients all over the world. The economics are probably the most interesting part, since his team is non-technical and only types in what they are given by their clients.
The economics are as follows: 300-500 CAPTCHAs per person per hour. The clients pay between $9-15 per 1000 CAPTCHAs solved. The team works around 12 hours a day per person. That means they can solve somewhere around 4800 CAPTCHAs per day per person, and depending on how hard the CAPTCHAs are that can run you around $50 per day per person (his estimate). The reason it’s not higher is because they take breaks, and fail sometimes.
He also admits it takes some time to ramp them up on new CAPTCHAs. Eventually they get faster at solving them. So for $50 a day, you can get your own human CAPTCHA solver. The ages of the solvers range from 18-23 years old. Pretty interesting stuff - what a crappy job!