Productivity Tips

Tips to Avoid Spambots

Written by Charles Mburugu for Gaebler Ventures

Despite the fact that it is illegal, harvesting email addresses from the internet using automated robots continues unabated. Spammers looking for fresh email addresses send software spider programs into the internet to suck email addresses from guest books, web pages and wherever you may post your email address. Once they obtain your email address, spammers will then trade it around. This leads to a flood of emails in your inbox. How can you avoid being spammed?

Stealing email addresses from sites and sending people junk mail is a rampant practice. The following tips can protect you from such activities.

Break it up

Clearly, the best way to avoid your email address being harvested is not to post your address on anyone's site, including your own. If you have to post your email address, post it in a way that the robot is unlikely to recognize it as an email address. Instead of posting [email protected], you could put YOU (AT) DOMAIN.COM and then in brackets, put (replace AT with @). Though it is extra work for legitimate email, this is a very effective technique.

Use an image

Currently, online spiders can't understand text that appears in a picture or graphic. If you have to display your email address on a page, then type your email address in a graphics program and save the image as a .jpg or .gif. Then post the image on your web page, which will be visible to people but not spiders. Though this is extra work for people who have to type your email address, it is a great solution if you have to display your email address.

Use an email form

Another way to reduce spam from your website is not to display an email address at all. Instead, allow prospects and customers to contact you using a form where they write their message, submit and your website sends you the message. However, make sure your email address is not visible in the form script. If the form code has the email address, spam robots will find it even if it is not visible on the page.

Make it a hard guess

At times, you will receive unwanted email because a spammer accurately guessed your email address. It is not hard to imagine that someone likely has the email [email protected], so spammers will conduct a 'dictionary' assault on common usernames. One way to beat this is to have a 'dot' in your email address, such as [email protected]. The dot reduces the possibility of spammers guessing your email address.

Use HTML entities

One way of using a HTML entity involves replacing the "@" symbol with the appropriate HTML character entity in the source code. For example, instead of your email appearing as [email protected] in the source code, it will appear as [email protected]. "& # 0 6 4 ;" is a different way of writing the "at" character in the email address. This trick may fool some spam robots. However, use it sparingly since spam robots can easily learn it.

Charles Mburugu writes for us from his home in Nairobi. He has a graduate degree in Business Management from Kenya Institute of Management. He is interested in writing about branding, CSR and intellectual property.

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