Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to Protect email address from spam bots/harvesters

What is spam?

Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services. Spam costs the sender very little to send -- most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.

Email spam:

Email spam, also known as junk email or unsolicited bulk email (UBE), is a subset of spam that involves nearly identical messages sent to numerous recipients by email. Definitions of spam usually include the aspects that email is unsolicited and sent in bulk.

E-mail address harvesting:

E-mail harvesting is the process of obtaining lists of e-mail addresses using various methods for use in bulk e-mail or other purposes usually grouped as spam.

There are lots of tricks available which can be used to protect email address from spam bots like:

Using CSS Trick:Using a css, you can completely hide your email address from spam harvesters. The drawback to this approach is that it will only work on sites that read left-to-right as it uses CSS to reverse the direction of text.
span.reverse {
  unicode-bidi: bidi-override;
  direction: rtl;
At the point that you are ready to present the email address, code it in your HTML, but just key it in backwards. For example:
The CSS above will then override the reading direction and present the text to the user in the correct order.

This will work but not for long, cause the pattern still gives the spammer crawlers hints that it's absolutely a reversed email.

HTML Escape Characters: Using javascript we can encrypt the email
function XOR_Crypt(EmailAddress)
    Result = new String();
    for (var i = 0; i < EmailAddress.length; i++)
     Result += String.fromCharCode(EmailAddress.charCodeAt(i) ^ 128);
Using reCAPTHA: Using reCAPTHA its very easy and better approach then using javascript encryption or using CSS reverse strategy.
Writing email address like: Contact me
Enkoder: Enkoder is also an option.
Contact Page: its always better, instead of showing email address to contract you, you should provide an form where user can enter his details and send you email.
My Opinion: In my opinion don't bother about spam bots. Normally in our inbox we gets several thousand spams every day. Our spam filter let maybe 1 or 2 a day through. As spam filters are really good, why make it difficult for legitimate people to contact you. So Just don't worry be happy :)

Compiled By: Rajesh Rolen

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