Web Designer in Hastings

Reducing Spam Emails

So you want to stop spam in your mailbox?

You are not alone! Email used to be just the perfect replacement for snailmail: direct, fast, cool. But today, spam has become so common that many citizens of cyberspace find that up to 90% of their daily emails are spam or - the technical term - "unsolicited bulk email (UBE)".

But how do these spammers get your email address anyway?

Where do the spammers get the email addresses?

A recent study of the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) uncovered some interesting information: As you may have guessed already (especially if you have your own website) in most cases spammers find addresses for their huge collections on webpages. Of course they do not personally visit your page and copy the address to their files. They use specialised search robots similar to those the web search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) use to crawl and rank your pages. They filter email addresses out of the pages automatically and ad them to the address databases used by the spammers. Also, once in a database, addresses will often be sold to other spammers and added to more databases.

Since you are interested in reducing the spam arriving in your inbox, your address is probably out there somewhere already. So does that mean you are lost? Certainly not. There are measures to reduce the spam in your mailbox:

  1. Don't give your private or office email address away on websites when signing up for a free service. Always use a seperate address for such purposes (free email services such as hotmail and gmail are perfect for this).
  2. When signing up or filling order forms on the web check for "smallprint" options that say you are willing to receive advertising emails by the company you are dealing with and/or 3rd party. Deny this always!
  3. Never use the "option" to sign-out of a spam mailing you received. Your reply will only confirm to the spammer that your email address is active and they will often sell it as a "confirmed" and "opted-in" address.
  4. Use spam filters on the mail server if you can. Spamassassin is a well known free and open-source tool for this.
  5. Use spam filters in your email client program. All modern email software will have built in spam filters, some better than others.
  6. Do not publish your email address in a way robots can easily harvest.


Use a contact form

The best way to protect your email is to use a contact form rather than publishing your email address directly on your website. CAPCHA image verification will make your form even more spam proof, meaning that a human will have to visit your form to fill it in. Drastically reducing spam form submissions and protecting your actual email address from the spam robots.


The Email Obfuscator

So you need to publish your email address for potential customers, business partners, employers or friends? If you must provide a "mailto" style link rather than use a form, then use an obfuscator to hide it from the spam robots. With the use of a little JavaScript you can "obfuscate" your email address so that spammers cannot easily harvest it from your web pages with their search robots.

Click here to Obfuscate an Email Address

Obfuscate an Email Address