Posted Tuesday, December 7, 2004
If your email address is on a website that's been online for a while you're being blasted with unsolicited email (SPAM). You can delete it or you can eliminate much of it in two simple steps.
Step 1: Scramble Your Email Address
It isn't human visitors to your site that are causing the problem. It's website spidering SPAMBOTS. These spambots go out on the web and harvest any email address they can find. These harvested email addresses are then sold by unscrupulous *spam pushers*.
Your goal is to hide your email address from the spambots, but still display it for your website visitors to see. If the spambot doesn't recogize your scrambled code as an email address it won't harvest it.
Search the web for scripts that will scramble your email address. You will find many free scripts and some that you can purchase. Some are simple and easy to install. Others can be a little more complicated.
The one that I like is called EScrambler. It is a free script developed by InnerPeace.org. You can visit their site and copy the source code (permission given on the site). Or, go to (http://www.webdesignwisdom.com/escrambler.shtml).
An example of *email@example.com* in escrambled form:
Step 2: Send Spam to Your Auto-Delete Account
Now, just because you've scrambled your email address, that doesn't keep all spammers from sending email to you. Some will just use something like *firstname.lastname@example.org because they understand that most websites have email forwarding. Anything that is emailed to your domain will be forwarded to an email address you specified.
You never have to see this email if you forward it to another email address that automatically deletes it.
You will need a free email account that offers some simple anti-spam features to use as your *dump account*.
You must be able to designate email addresses from which you will not accept any email. You may already have an account that can handle it. If not, look into Mail.com or Lycos.com.
Then make your free email dump account the default forwarding address in your website's email handler. Go to your free email account and set it to reject all mail received from YOUR domain.
Then have email that is sent to your published email addresses (those you have scrambled on your site) forwarded to your normal forwarding address. Or, set them up as individual POP accounts if your hosting service offers this feature.
Now you will receive email from your website visitors who actually read your email address on your website and all other email will be deleted.
This is a very effective way to get rid of most spam that is generated from your domain. It won't eliminate all of it. The volume of spam that I was receiving decreased by 90-95% after I made these changes.
This tactic will work for sites that have been online with an unprotected email address too. Change the email address on your site to a different scrambled address. Forward all email that is sent to your old posted address to your dump account.
If you've been using your primary email address on your site, you'll need to notify everyone that your email address has changed. This makes it more difficult, but worth the effort if you're being slammed with spam.
About the Author
Thomas Benton is the owner of WebDesignWisdom.com and the publisher of Active-eBuilder, The Do-It-Yourself Web Design and Internet Marketing Ezine. Visit Tom's resource-rich website: (http://www.webdesignwisdom.com)