Have you noticed an increase of spam since building your website?
Is that email spam driving you crazy?
If you answered yes to the above then it’s time to find a way to protect your email address from the hackers who scrape websites for email addresses and then sell them to spammers who fill your inbox with crap.
YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SHOULD NOT BE VISIBLE ON YOUR WEBSITE - instead use a contact form to collect enquiries from those wishing to make contact.
Email spamming is a huge business because believe it or not, it works. There’s a sucker born a day who will click a strange link and download malicious code to their computer to place yet more spam on the internet. Yet more will actually engage with spammer and even buy something!
The most popular malicious programs are sent through email spam.
So not only is spam a constant annoyance, it’s quite dangerous. Here’s more about email spam.
The way your email gets on a spam list is through web site scraping. If your email address is visible, then it is "scrapeable". Scrapers use sophisticated tools to scrape sites by the thousands per minute. Why these tools are not illegal is beyond me.
Your exposed emails: You can find instances of exposed email addresses by first doing a site search. Search for a specific email addresses, or for the link prefix, “mailto:”
The easiest way to create an email link in your website page is also the easiest way for hackers to scrape your email address: by placing “mailto:” in the link box.
By clicking this link, a user's’ email client pops up and creates a pre-addressed email message, ready to complete.
Spell out email addresses (don't!)
This is the oldest solution in the book, spelling out mari [at] marikane [dot] com.
It’s also one of the lamest. Users then have to type the address into their email message which increases the chance of mistakes, and it reduces usability.
Basic, but unsophisticated.
Contact forms do a great job of hiding email addresses.
There are problems with contact forms, though.
One is user’s resistance to filling out the annoying Captcha code that filters spambots. Also, users may not like to use a form unless there is an option of sending a copy of the message to themselves.Other users want to put your email address in their database (though hopefully not to spam you).
If you have a contact page and have a lot of “mailto:” links pointed to the URL address throughout your website, I suggest finding and changing all those links to your Contact page link.
That way, when the old “mailto:” link is clicked, users will be directed to the Contact page, and the email scrapers will be none the wiser.
Protect Your Email Address now
Don’t drown in email spam and if you are already swamped, plug that hole now!
One way or another, you’ve got to protect your email address from hackers and spammers or they will make your life miserable eventually. (if not already!)
- Use Contact Forms on your websites with a Captcha in place.
- DO NOT have a visible email address anywhere on your whole website.