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Listing an e-mail address in a website
Thread poster: Barbara Cashin

Barbara Cashin
Local time: 21:57
Member
German to English
Mar 11, 2004

Dear All,

I have heard that people who generate spam set up their computers to trawl for e-mail addresses from websites. I plan to change the e-mail address listed in my website because I am getting huge volumes of spam and almost none on the mail address I plan to change to. I have read that when setting up an e-mail contact in a website, it is possible to avoid showing the actual address while still providing a contact so that the address cannot be harvested for spam. Does anyone know about this and if so, how is it done?

All contributions are very welcome. Thanking you in advance.

Regards

Barbara Cashin


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
As a picture Mar 11, 2004

The simplest way to protect it from being "harvested" would be to include it as a jpg or gif file.

But if you want it in a way it can be copied or used as a direct link opening your email program (mailto:a@b.com) there is probably no way to protect it. (Maybe a JavaScript trick?)

An alternative would be to store the address in separate parts and combine them visually using CSS positioning. This way it could be copied into the clipboard but it would not be found by search programs. This is a bit more complicated to program, though.

[Edited at 2004-03-11 19:08]


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Carolyn Denoncourt  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:57
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
avoid @ symbol Mar 11, 2004

I have heard that spammers find your e-mail address by looking for the @ symbol. So if you don't use a graphic to give your e-mail address, you might want to put in text form, for example "write to jane at home.net" Most people will understand that I think.

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Alexandru Pojoga
Romania
Local time: 23:57
Japanese to English
+ ...
Obfuscate the address, at the least Mar 11, 2004

Some common techniques:

name at company.com
name (AT-I-HATE-SPAM) company dot com

etc.

But I hear these harvesters are getting smarter and are trained to recognize common patterns such as "at before a domain name", so try to obfuscate it even further.


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Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
German to Polish
+ ...
There is another possibility also Mar 11, 2004

Simply embed a contact form into your website, like:

your name
your e-mail address
your questions/remarks etc.
SEND

I am sure you have seen them on several web sites. In this way you give the possibility to contact you without disclosuring your real e-mail address.
Regards
Andrzej


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Uwe Kirmse  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
Polish to German
+ ...
JavaScript trick Mar 11, 2004

Harry_B wrote:
...But if you want it in a way it can be copied or used as a direct link opening your email program (mailto:a@b.com) there is probably no way to protect it. (Maybe a JavaScript trick?)...


The programms of the spammers find the pages by following links. If you'll place your mailto-link on a page, to which doesn't lead any link, they can't track it and won't find your adress. You can do it, using a simple Java Script trick, that you can find in the source code of my website: http://polnisch-uebersetzer.de

If your website isn't very popular, the email adress collectors probably won't find it, and you won't get a huge amount of spam. But be aware from showing your email in usenet groups or signing up to any site. For this you should create another email adress.

PS: Sorry for my poor English, but I hope, you'll understand it.

Edited:
The email adresses are collected from the source code of the websites too. So it makes no sense to show the email in a gif or jpg and to make a mailto: link.
The best spammers collect the adresses manually, and there's nothing you can do to hide it than to make a contact form like Andrzej wrote. But you'd have to use CGI or something like that and not a HTML form with a form tag, because in this case the email adress has to be in the source code.



[Edited at 2004-03-11 19:42]


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Bianca Adriaensen  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
English to Dutch
+ ...
Several scripts Mar 11, 2004

Contact forms can be inserted in html pages without reveiling e-mail addresses. Most of these forms are cgi scripts, and can be found with any search engine.
If you need a small sample, just contact me.

Bianca


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:57
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
As picture, as description, or why not change every now and then? Mar 11, 2004

Barbara Cashin wrote:
I have heard that people who generate spam set up their computers to trawl for e-mail addresses from websites.


Yes, and I do get spam because my e-mail address is listed on my web site. But my biggest problem is not spam from harvesters, but from viruses on the computers of stupid acquaintances who open unknown attachments.

You can put your e-mail address into a picture, but if you're going to make a picture the same size and font as your web site's other text, be aware that you can't really force the way a font will look on your potential client's screen.

You can also use various convensions:
yournamebla.com
yournameblacom
etc... but although these might be quite easily understood, they are difficult to visualise.

There is no solution to spam and junk mail. But here's a thought: Use two e-mail addresses -- one for clients and one for web visitors. The one for clients never gets published on your web site, but given to clients or potential clients who've contacted you. The one for web visitors you can change every month to minimise the spam.


[Edited at 2004-03-11 19:48]


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Ivan Eikås Skjøstad  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 22:57
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Encode it Mar 11, 2004

Another trick: Encode your HTML at your website to avoid robots that browse "mailto:". Encoding can be done here:

http://www.wbwip.com/wbw/emailencoder.html

I use this trick, and I use one email address only at my web site.

So far I have only received one or two spam messages sent directly to this email adress..:)


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Tom Bishop
Local time: 21:57
French to English
+ ...
Several options Mar 12, 2004

Barbara Cashin wrote:
I have read that when setting up an e-mail contact in a website, it is possible to avoid showing the actual address while still providing a contact so that the address cannot be harvested for spam. Does anyone know about this and if so, how is it done?


Have a look at http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol4/design_no21.htm which gives a number of options, including java script.


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Barbara Cashin
Local time: 21:57
Member
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Amazing response as always Mar 12, 2004

What a great response from everyone and useful suggestions - I will give all careful consideration. Many thanks

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