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Spam: Hiding Your Email Address

By Richard Lowe
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2004

In many instances you will want to put your email address on your website, even if you provide a form as a contact method. This is useful because it increases the number of ways that someone can contact you. Why is that important? Because presumably if you have a website you are attempting to communicate with the world - and communication goes both ways. If you have a commercial site then the answer should be obvious - someone may want to purchase something.

Another reason to put an email address directly on your web page is for people to request information via autoresponder. These allow your visitors to click a simple mailto link and get your promotional materials or articles in their email inbox.

The problem with directly including your email addresses on your page is spam harvesters. These a programs created by scum and run by ignorant or unethical fools. What they do is search through the internet, looking at web sites and pages for email addresses to add to those million email address collections that you see advertised (mostly in spam) all over the place.

There is really no ironclad way to prevent these bottom-feeders from scanning your web site for email addresses. There are a number of techniques, however, to make it a little more difficult for them.

One of these is to code your email addresses in something called Unicode. This is a "language" for encoding special characters on web pages. All modern browsers support Unicode as it's primary intention is to allow languages all over the planet to be represented.

For example, the following email address:

webmaster@internet-tips.net

will be shown in Unicode as:

webmaster
@internet
-tips.net

As you can see from the table below, using Unicode characters is simple. Just substitute the Unicode sequence in the table for the corresponding character. Then use all of those sequences wherever you want to put that email address.

@ @ E E M M U U c c k k s s
. . F F N N V V d d l l t t
- - G G O O W W e e m m u u
_ _ H H P P X X f f n n v v
A A I I Q Q Y Y g g o o w w
B B J J R R Z Z h h p p x x
C C K K S S a a i i q q y y
D D L L T T b b j j r r z z

I suppose it is inevitable that the scum spammers will eventually make their spam robots smart enough to understand these codes. Until then, however, it is a reasonably effective technique for reducing spam in your inbox.

About the Author
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at (http://www.internet-tips.net) - Visit our website any time to readover 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.