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Wondering How Spammers Got Your Email Address?

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Are You Mad About Spam?

Are you receiving tons of spam emails every day? You know, those "get rich quick" nonsense, MLM schemes, pills, millions of email addresses offers...

They drove me mad when I put up my first web site. You will encounter the same problem when your online business grows. This is an annoying bi-product of successful web sites.

How did the spammers get your email address?

You see, all web site operators want search engine spiders to visit their web site. After all, search engines are the best source of free targeted traffic. In the event that you don't want them to visit, they are easily kept at bay with a properly formatted "robots.txt" file.

Unfortunately, there's another group of spiders out there crawling the web with an entirely different purpose. These are the spiders that visit site after site, collecting email addresses. They are known as spam bots, or email harvesters.

When it comes to controlling these spam bots, robots.txt simply won't get the job done. In fact, most spam robots will ignore robots.txt. In addition to harvesting your email address and sending you spams, they also waste your treasured bandwidth.

There's not much you can do to stop them visiting your web site. But at least you can hide your email address from spam bots to keep spams you receive to minimum. Here's the trick.

One of the weaknesses of spiders of all kinds is an inability to process scripts. Adding a small snippet of Javascript in place of an email address effectively renders the address invisible to spiders, while leaving it accessible to your visitors with all but the most primitive browsers.

In the examples below, simply substitute your email username and your domain name. To use the scripts, just insert them into your pages wherever you need them to be displayed.

Spam-Proof Mailto Link

This snippet of code creates a clickable link that launches the visitor's email application, just like any normal email link does. You can replace the link text with your own message, but see example 2 if you want to display your email address as the link text.

<script language=javascript>
var username = "username";
var hostname = "";
var linktext = "Send Me Email";
document.write("<a href=" + "mail" + "to:" + username +
"@" + hostname + ">" + linktext + "</a>")

Spam-Proof Mailto Link With Your Email Address Showing

Some visitors won't be able to use a mailto link, and will instead need to read the email address. You can use the script below instead.

<script language=javascript>
var username = "username";
var hostname = "";
var linktext = username + "@" + hostname;
document.write("<a href=" + "mail" + "to:" + username +
"@" + hostname + ">" + linktext + "</a>")

Display Your Email Address Without A Mailto Link

Sometimes, you just want to give your email address without making it a clickable link. Here's how to do that.

<script language=javascript>
var username = "username";
var hostname = "";
var linktext = username + "@" + hostname;
document.write(username + "@" + hostname)

Another simple solution is to use a contact form. Your email address is invisible to both spiders and visitors while you can still communicate with visitors effectively. There are plenty of free CGI scripts out there you can use.

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Article by Zac Hewlett at
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