Two of the most-requested publisher features for hCaptcha have been more accurate real-time estimates and more rapid final reconciliations. This post covers some changes being made to the hCaptcha service in order to enable these features.
Estimates: Why is this hard?
Our original real-time estimation system (i.e. the numbers used for estimated earnings and graphs on the Dashboard) used a global quality average prior to reconciliations, at which time a site-specific quality factor was computed for each site. This approach served us well in our first year of operation, but over time has not kept up with the wider variety of publishers now using the service.
Final reconciliations use an entirely different set of calculations, which gain much of their accuracy from having all of the data available. This means final numbers can differ substantially from real-time estimates for some publishers, especially if they have increased bot traffic between reconciliations or start off with much lower traffic quality than average due to user behavior.
This is clearly not ideal: as we become a more critical part of monetization strategies, publishers want higher reliability estimates in order to plan investments.
Thus, for several months we have been working on the various components required to deliver this feature. This is a large engineering project, but we think it will pay off in increased certainty for publishers.
We are now in the final stretches of delivering more accurate real-time estimates, and are already running these calculations in parallel as we complete validation.
In the next month or so, we will switch the Dashboard and statistics APIs to display this new data and send out an email update with more details.
However, during this overlap period reconciliations will run slower than usual, as engineering resources are focused on completing this project.
Estimated earnings on the Dashboard may also be temporarily unavailable or go up or down more frequently than in the past, as many of the related systems are being updated.
This does not affect final reconciliations or the next payout (see the schedule for details), but does mean your Available balance will not be updated as frequently as usual until the update is released.
Thanks for your patience during this process, and we appreciate your support!
— the hCaptcha team