Dwight Watt Georgia Kiwanian Article October 2004

Spam and web pages

If you are a developer of web pages you will likely discover that the amount of spam for the e-mail addresses listed will increase. If your e-mail address is used on web pages you likely also see the amount of spam in your e-mail box increase.

This is unfortunate as e-mail addresses on web pages increases the ability for your customers (or in the case of Kiwanis, members or prospective members to reach you. A great marketing move but depending on amount of spam and your spam filters a lot of work skipping the spam.

The spam appears from these because the spammers use web bots to search the web for e-mail addresses and finds them and compiles them as good addresses. These can be used and sold to others. These webbots are working similar to the web bots used by search engines to find web pages and index them. In this second case it is good for the general public as we are able to find relevant web sites easier

A person developing web pages could use three ways to combat these webbots form the spammers. These webbots are not just looking at displayed e-mail addresses but looking in the code for e-mail addresses in the form of dwight-watt@att.net

The first solution is to show the web addresses but change the symbols so in the case of my e-mail address is to show it as dwight-watt at att.net Now it does not look like an e-mail address but reads to a human like one. The limitation is that you can not click on it and send but must type it in correct e-mail format in the e-mail client. That will prevent some from contacting you. Not so good.

The second approach is place your e-mail addresses on secure password protected pages. That will work but the addresses are only available to those with the password. So in the case of a Kiwanis web site where you want to reach prospective members not a very good solution. If it is a list of e-mail addresses at your company that you really only intend employees o access, this is feasible.

The third solution is to use an encoding program that will encode the addresses so they do not appear as a web address in the HTML code but when page is displayed the link is there. A encoder that I have found easy to use and seems to work well is http://automaticlabs.com/products/enkoderform The code generated for my address is

Obviously my address is hidden. It is freeware. I have used it to encode all the e-mail addresses on the Georgia Kiwanis website and am working on using it on other websites I maintain.

Together I hope we can combat the spam problem.