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How To Stop S-P-A-M (And Save Time!)

By Steve Nash
Posted Saturday, September 4, 2004

Don't you just love e-mail, but hate s-p-a-m (un-solicited e-mail) and the amount of time it wastes?

If you're a webmaster, or your e-mail address has been put on your website, chances are you'll get more than your fair share of un- wanted, sometimes downright annoying, S P A M! (And it doesn't bear thinking about how much time you probably waste, on average, deleting those nonsense e-mails!)

Well, this short article shows you several ways you can reduce this unwanted e-mail, and even what to do if a particular e-mail address is being bombarded with s-p-a-m!

This article covers:

o How webmasters get S P A M in the first place
o Tip 1 - Encrypt your e-mail address with unicode
o Tip 2 - Encrypt your e-mail address using JavaScript
o Tip 3 - Use an anti- S P A M feedback form
o Help me! I'm being bombarded with s-p-a-m...
o Further reading

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

It's well known that putting your e-mail address on a website is a sure way to get more than your fair share of s p a m. This is because of so-called email-harvesting-robots - automatic programs that scour the web collecting e-mail addresses.

So put your 'un-protected' e-mail address on a website, and - soon enough - you'll have all sorts of unwanted e-mails in your in-box.

== 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, you need to use a freebie e-mail address instead, as mentioned in the article Post-Script.
== ASIDE ==

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

= Tip 1 - Encrypt Your E-Mail Address With Unicode.

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

I use Mailto-Encrypter, a Windows-compatible program available at ( , 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 at 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 --

will produce on your webpage; which will act as a valid e-mail address, that can not be detected by the 'e-mail harvesting' robots.

= Tip 3 - Use An Anti- S P A M Feedback Form.

Not only can your e-mail address be extracted from a standard Perl/CGI form, but sometimes your feedback form can actually be used to send S P A M! (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!"

The feedback form is available, free, at (

= Help Me! I'm Being Bombarded With S-P-A-M...

The above tips will *definitely* reduce the amount of S-P-A-M you receive. But what happens if your e-mail address is already receiving loads and loads of junk e-mail?

Well, here's what I do with one particular POP3 e-mail address that attracts all sort of un-pleasant e-mails - I read it online, using Mail2Web. (

Ordinarily, I receive most of my POP3 e-mail - i.e. non web-based e-mail - using Outlook. But for one e-mail address, I just visit Mail2Web and read the e-mail as if it were a Hotmail account. This doesn't stop me getting S P A M, but it's a lot easier to mass-delete the e-mail nasties, and there's absolutely no need for me to read them beforehand!

All you need to use this service is your e-mail address, and the password used to access it. (

== ASIDE ==
I don't think Mail2Web works with Hotmail, Yahoo! or other web- based e-mail account, but then there would be little point in using it if it did. To reduce S P A M using one of these e-mail services, I suggest you refer to their e-mail filtering options.
== ASIDE ==

= Further Reading

This article has provided 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 is affecting both the innocent and the guilty, take a look at these links...


PS And as for leaving your e-mail address on a newsgroup or forum,
all I can suggest is that you ONLY ever leave your Hotmail or
Yahoo! free e-mail address! Sign-up for your free e-mail here


About the Author
LIKE THIS ARTICLE? Steve Nash publishes articles like this, and better, in his acclaimed newsletter Promote! Promote! Promote! To subscribe, and to get your FREE BONUSES, simply visit (

And you can read a summary of his most popular articles simply by sending a blank e-mail to: articles @


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