Cutting out the Spam: Disguise Your Email Address (and Phone)


Spam_dish

If you don’t want spam, don’t post your email address on the Internet.

Why You Should Disguise Your Email Address

Spammers use computer software (bots) to search for the @ sign on your blog (or elsewhere) so they can harvest your eAddress.  They also search for the “mailto:” HTML code if  your email address is clickable with a link. (I’ll also mention phone numbers a little later).

What You Can Do

Techies could use Javascript. See Avoiding Spam when Posting an Email Address by Website Creator for how to do this, but I’ll give easier options for the rest of us.

For 100% safety, I recommend creating an image of your email address. I used my photo editing software, but you could use this easy and free converter: Email to Image Converter which offers a dozen fonts and some customization. After you like the results, just “save as” the image of your eAddress and use it in your email signature or on your website.

This next option gives you better than 99% security (smarter bots know to look for these “tricks”). Try disguising your eAddress with one of these work-arounds using spaces or spelling out “at” and “dot.” (Don’t use “@”.)

  1. first.last at ministry dot org
  2. bloggername at blog dot com
  3. first.last (at) cru.org

For this, and the previous option, your friend won’t be able to just click and send you an email, but it’s only a little extra effort for them to type out your working email address. It’ll be worth it to you to limit spam on your website or in your inbox.

Don’t make your eAddress clickable by adding the “mailto:” HTML code to your image, or disguised email. This defeats all the anti-spam effort because bots will look for this, too.

WordPress.com support recommends using a contact form on your blog or website for people to reach you. If your website or blog doesn’t offer a contact form, Practical eCommerce recommends three contact form generators in their article: How to Hide Email Addresses from Spam Bots.

Some of you have the CAPTCHA service (or similar) on your site. Some spammers have figured out how to get past these kind of anti-spam services. I’m sure you’ve noticed that CAPTCHA includes images now because of this. This option can also frustrate some people who will give up and not contact you.

Disguise Your Phone Number

You could also disguise your phone numbers on a web site or in your email signature by creating an image of them, too. I just tested Email to Image Converter as an option for you. It easily made an image of my cell number.

What is working for you to block spam?

NOTES:

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