We started this company 10 years ago, in the back of a dusty science fiction bookshop, in Brooklyn, New York. Amidst stacks of sci-fi memorabilia and books, we churned away at the problem of who’s real on the internet, and its implications. In those early days, we created two t-shirts. One said ROBOT. And the other said HUMAN.
Knowing who’s real is among a handful of enduringly hard problems on the internet. The potential economic impact is surreal, and so is the impact to modern security. If you could look like a million humans online, what could you do? It’s harder to imagine many things you couldn’t do. Over the last decade we’ve seen sophisticated human-like bots designed to do many things: take over accounts, manipulate popularity and consensus, steal sensitive data, interact with media and advertising, and snipe or scalp goods and services online, to name just a few. So what would the world look like without these malicious bots?
- The most popular songs are popular because real people listened to the music - and enjoyed it.
- Identities are protected and not used for malicious purposes - like filling out forms and clicking on ads.
- When an exclusive product drops, it doesn’t appear on third-party sites minutes later for 10x the price.
- Every human who wants to see their favorite artist in concert is actually able to get a ticket.
I placed an early bet that the ROBOT shirt would be the most popular. I was wrong. By a large margin. As our t-shirts became more of a wardrobe staple among our Humans, our customers and our investors, what I saw almost daily was the HUMAN shirt. At work, on stage, sometimes walking through the neighborhood where our office was. Sure, sometimes I knew it was just going to be one of those days, and I donned the ROBOT shirt in game day fashion. But for the most part, like everyone else, putting on the HUMAN shirt felt good. Wearing HUMAN represented who we were as a group of people and the type of company we were building. It also represented the important problem we were addressing of knowing whether there is a human on the other end of the screen for any given interaction.
HUMAN’s President and Co-Founder Michael Tiffany in 2015
In October 2020, we published a piece I wrote about changing the company name. We looked at thousands of possible names, did a deep dive on hundreds of them, worked with many of the top creative minds in the industry, and spoke to customers, partners and analysts to get their input and feedback. Amidst the hundreds of names on the list, we kept coming back to one. A name that represented what we are here to do: protect the internet and our customers from bot attacks to keep digital experiences human. In our journey to rename White Ops we discovered who we really are. Our mission to protect the integrity of the internet has not changed since we founded this company. That’s why we are changing our name to HUMAN. It is who we have always been. And we get to keep the t-shirt :)