Do you want to stop spammers from harvesting the email address you use on your website?
You want to use your email address so that your viewers have a way to contact you if they have any comments or questions. So you need to put a “mailto:” link on your webpage.
The problem is that one of the main methods that spammers use to obtain email addresses is to send a robot out to the internet whose primary purpose is to find email addresses. The spambot does this by looking at the HTML coding that the browser uses to show the webpage. It then saves the email address it finds after “mailto:”.
The two most common methods of “hiding” the email address:
- Munging. In this method, the email address is not put in a link. Rather it is supposedly hidden from the bots by substituting words for various parts of the address. Example: johndoe AT hotmail DOT com
Encoding. The simplest way to do this is to use the standard ASCII coding to replace each letter or symbol in the address with its ASCII code. For example, the simple email address a @ b.com would look like:
& #97; & #64; & #98; & #46; & #99; & #111; & #109;
( spaces added to prevent your browser from printing the actual letters )
One can still use the mailto: link, since the browser recognizes this code, and prints out the actual address on the webpage.
These methods no longer work.
These methods may have worked when they were first introduced, but one should never underestimate the intelligence of the hackers who program the spambots. There are new bots that can decode both of these email encryption techniques.
These two methods by no means exhaust the possibilities. A Google search on “hide email address” turns up over two million results. Even discounting duplicate methods, there are undoubtedly quite a few ingenious techniques available.
So what can I do now?
Without going through all of the Google entries, I can predict beyond a reasonable doubt that the method I use myself does a better job of protecting your email address than any other. How can I be so sure? Because I doubt that any hacker would have the time or skill to write a bot that would allow him to grab my email address — it’s that well hidden!
I hear you saying, “But that’s impossible!” Well, it’s not. Just visit the website in the paragraph below, and you can find out how it’s done.