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Display email address and prevent spam?

     
6:35 pm on Jul 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

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We use an email form on our website to prevent email harvesters from sending us spam. The public never sees the recipient's email address. However, some members of the public legitimately want to create distribution lists of staff addresses so they need to know what the email addresses are. If I display the email address as just text (without a mailto link) will email harvesters still grab the address?

Thanks,
Kathy

6:38 pm on July 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

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oh yeah...quite easily.

If you absolutely feel you have to display the addresses, I'd use images.

There are other techniques such as encoding the email addresses, using javascript, etc., but for the most part, using images seems to work best...especially if you don't need them to be clickable.

6:41 pm on July 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

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However, some members of the public legitimately want to create distribution lists of staff addresses so they need to know what the email addresses are.

If those people have a legitimate reason to have access to those e-mails, then they should have some sort of non-public back channel to get that list.
7:14 pm on July 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I had a feeling it couldn't be that easy. I appreciate the suggestions. Thanks!
3:43 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Using images? The code in the site will still show the email as a MAILTO: though. I don't think that's going to help much.

Or am I reading that wrong?

What I am thinking of is that you're using a GIF or JPG button with a description on it (Email JANE here) and then making that button a link.

If so, then what I wrote above applies. Or am I looking at it wrong?

3:55 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The OP wasn't wanting the links to be live, just displayed so that visitors could see what the email address is.

Since they wouldn't be live, they would have no associated mailto function. They would simply be an image and therefore wouldn't be picked up by most email harvesters.

2:47 am on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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The OP wasn't wanting the links to be live, just displayed so that visitors could see what the email address is.

As a user, that would irritate me considerably.

I have a goodly number of websites and dozens of emails. Some sites need david@ sales@ info@ optout@ and so forth.

Is it just me - but I think the best 'solution' is to not worry about the spam and simply filter incoming email? That's my job. Perhaps your situation allows the 'quarantine' or restricted distribution of emails, but I've got not only dozens of emails, but also dozens of email links on other sites where we are recommended by email rather than with a site link. I'd rather have the site link, but an not going tell people how to recommend our sites and services. We get a lot of ma and pa recommendations, so can't really be to 'pushy' about how they say nice things - even if another method would be even more beneficial to us.

8:48 am on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I prefer using a form on my own sites and avoid revealing the underlying addresses in any way. However when I need to contact others through their sites I hate forms as I don't have an audit trail.
3:28 pm on Aug 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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However when I need to contact others through their sites I hate forms as I don't have an audit trail.

Ha! Ha! Same here. I hate forms, and want the email thread. If there is any BS down down the road as to who said what, the thread is a wonderful weapon - and I enjoy how much some people despise being held accountable.

If a form is all you've got, and I can go somewhere else just as easily - I most likely will; depending upon subject and potential need/desire for documentation.