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3 Tips To Help Webmasters Reduce Spam In Their Inbox, Today

By Steve Nash
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Email spam is no joke.

Each month the situation of unsolicited junk email seems to get worse and worse, wasting more and more of your valuable time.

If you are a webmaster (or site owner) - i.e. you have your email address on a website - then there *is* something you can do to help reduce spam in your inbox, today.

Quite simply, you need to encrypt your email address, and get rid of the bare mailto: link on your site.

This article covers:
How webmasters get S P A M in the first place
Tip 1: Encrypt your e-mail address with ASCII-code
Tip 2: Encrypt your e-mail address using JavaScript
Tip 3: Hide your email address in an anti- S P A M feedback form
Further reading about the 'spam wars'
Bonus Tip: Use the very latest anti-spam email address

So, let's begin.

=> How Webmasters Get S P A M In The First Place

There are many ways that webmasters, everyone really, can get sent spam. (See Further Reading below for a full discussion.) The easiest way, however, is to simply put your email address onto a website in the format: mailto:name@a.b

Then, so-called email-harvesting programs (spambots) visit this web page and collect each and every email address they find, and add it to a spammers database.

So, if you put an 'un-protected' e-mail address on a website, soon enough you'll receive all sorts of unwanted e-mails in your inbox.

This article discusses 3 ways to protect or encrypt your email address, and thus make it harder for spambots to add your email address to spammers databases.

Here are a few tips that WILL help reduce what I call 'webmaster s p a m':

== ASIDE ==
You may well get S P A M sent to the e-mail address you leave at a forum, or newsgroup too. In this case - when you are unable to encrypt your email address - you should use a freebie e-mail address instead, as mentioned at the end of this article.
== ASIDE ==

=> Tip 1 - Encrypt Your E-Mail Address Using ASCII-code.

Simply put, this means replacing letters and numbers in your e-mail address with its ASCII equivalent;e.g. a@b.c would be a@b.&#99

It's best if you also encrypt the mailto: statement too, as I *have* received spam at an ASCII-encoded email address !

I use Mailto-Encrypter, a Windows-compatible program, but you might want to visit the following online resource. The "Advanced Email Link Generator with Anti-Spam Encoder" generates mailto: links you can copy and paste into your web pages and emails. (

(You can also find several mailto encrypters via Google.)

=> Tip 2 - Encrypt Your E-Mail Using JavaScript.

Using a simple JavaScript program like this:

<script language="JavaScript">
<!-- Begin
user = "aaa";
site = "";

document.write('<a href=\"mailto:' + user + '@' + site + '\">');
document.write(user + '@' + site + '</a>');
// End -->

produces on your web page; which acts as a valid e-mail address. Most e-mail spambots can not recognise the JavaScript as an email address (but it's only a matter
of time!).

Want to see an example? Visit the link below - the e-mail address has been generated using JavaScript code as above (
(Note: If you're a newsletter/e-zine publisher and you want to know more about making sure your e-mails are not treated as spam, then I suggest you use this new spam-check tool

=> Tip 3 - Hide Your Email Address In An Anti- S P A M Feedback Form

Yes, your email address can be extracted from a standard Perl/CGI form too. (In some cases, your form can actually *send* spam - early versions of FormMail suffer from this security flaw, apparently!)

Enter the Master Feedback form from - an anti-S P A M feedback form.

In the words of "Master Feedback helps you S P A M -proof your site by not requiring your email address anywhere on your page, not even embedded in hidden form fields or other HTML tags. Now you can stop feeding [those] email address harvesting robots!"

You can download the feedback form, for free, at (

Want to see an example of the feedback form? Visit (

=> Further Reading About The 'Spam Wars'

This article provides a few solutions to the problems of receiving s-p-a-m; but they are not the only solutions.

For further reading on the ongoing battle against S P A M, and how that battle affects both the innocent and the guilty, take a look at these links...


=> Bonus Tip: Use The Very Latest Anti-Spam Email Address

William Botrager, owner of, is a man dedicated to reducing spam. Not only is he responsible for many of the excellent resources above, he's now created the ultimate (?) anti-spam email address: Master Spambot Buster

In his words: "Master Spambot Buster not only defeats robots harvesting email addresses on web pages, it also completely nullifies their harvesting efforts when they scan

. newsletters,
. newsgroup postings,
. discussion list postings,
. instant messages,
. print ads,
. and any other document,

"where the Master Spambot Buster method is used in lieu of publishing an email address.

"When no email address is present, it can't be harvested."

You can learn more about Master Spambot Buster at (

Want to see an example? Well, the link below is, believe it or not, one of my email addresses (


So, there you have it: at least 3 ways you can reduce spam in your inbox, today.

As I said in the beginning, email spam is no joke, so do make sure you try at least one of the methods I've shown you.

Either use an anti-spam feedback form, or encrypt your email address! And if you want absolute certainty that your email address is safe, check out the Bonus Tip I mention above!

Above all, remove your mailto: link on your website, any way you can!

© Copyright 2002-2003 Steve Nash. All Rights Reserved.

PS Know a webmaster or site-owner who complains about spam? Why not pass this information on to someone else who could use it? It's as easy as forwarding it right now.

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