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A Warning About Posting Email Addresses In Posts Why you shouldnt do it


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13 replies to this topic

#1 miCRoSCoPiC^eaRthLinG

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 05:27 PM

[tab][/tab]HI all - a word of warning or rather, an advise. A good many of you post your email addresses in various posts for different reasons. Most of you might be unaware that posting emails in this way on public message boards opens up the gateway to SPAM mails directly.

[tab][/tab]Most SPAM Harvester Bots behave like search engine crawlers - crawling through each and every post of the public boards. Posting emails like this makes their job very very easy. If they arrive upon these posts, they'd simply rip your addresses off and add them to their database and thats the end of it. My recommendation is, try to avoid posting emails for your own safety - but in case you absolutely need to, try to adhere to the following format, or come up with a format of your own - a format which is humanly cognizable but can fool the bots.

Example: myemail@mydomain.com ==> myemail_AT_mydomain_DOT_com

If the bots can't find the "@" and "." signs in a string of characters, they don't treat the string as an email and discard it. On the other hand, presence of these two characters in it, is a sureshot way of voluntarily donating your address to the harvesters.

All the best :)
m^e

#2 HTML_Guru

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 11:53 PM

Luckily enough for me, I've never posted my e-mail in these forums; however, I will take into consideration your suggestions - I get enough spam as it is; I don't need more!

#3 Retaining

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 02:53 AM

Do you know if encoding them in HTML character escape codes (& codes) works? There are scripts and websites that can convert your email address to long unreadable strings of gibberish that display as text when shown on a browser, but I don't know if that actually stops crawlers from reading them.

#4 finaldesign

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 07:13 AM

hmm.. I must do something about it now :) I have my email posted on my own webpages... maybe to change it the way m^e suggested.. :)

#5 miCRoSCoPiC^eaRthLinG

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 10:06 AM

hmm.. I must do something about it now  :) I have my email posted on my own webpages... maybe to change it the way m^e suggested..  :)

View Post


My method is ok for forum posting - but as for your own webpage you might want to consider the method that Retaining has mentioned. That will still allow you to display your email as a clickable link on your page - but will fool the bots, as each character of the email string is encoded using escape codes. So when the bot goes through the HTML code of your page, it won't find anything remotely close to an email address.

When you open up your HTML file, an encoded email address will look like this:

Original email:micro@asta.com

Encoded email:#109;#105;#099;#114;#111;#064;#097;#115;#116;#097;#046;#099;#111;#109;


P.S. - each escape sequence actually begins with an "&" sign, but I had to remove them as the forum software was parsing the escape codes and showing the email address instead.


Here's a site which gives you your corresponding encoded email: http://www.wbwip.com...ailencoder.html

Have fun playing around with it :)

Regards,
m^e

#6 YudzzY

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 02:58 PM

Know that but thanks for reminding, besides i have not used it yet!

the encoded email.. thats hilarious!

#7 cyborgxxi

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 04:12 PM

This is really important so don't forget! You don't want SPAM in your inboxes, do you? Thanks to M^E :)

But don't worry, I don't post any e-mail addresses without "encoding" them. Haha!!

#8 sparx

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 05:07 PM

My favourite way is also one of the better looking ways to display one's email address without worrying about bots, scripts and crawlers trying to harvest the email address.

Embed a small picture of your email address. The following link is especially useful if your email address is from one of the more poular email providers like GMail / Yahoo / Hotmail / Earthlink / AOL / Bigfoot / Verizon / Netscape etc. The image generated is stored online and you can link to the image or you can save it your disk too. Some samples are included below:

The following are available here.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image


This one is designed solely for GMail users. Samples below:

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Note that if you decide to use the link and scripts so that an email can be sent to you when the image is clicked, you're negating the whole point, since your email still be obtained by the bots. Refer to posts above for clues on how to "munge" your email by using the encoding method


UPDATE - As I was browsing the above sites, I came across the main site. Have a look. They also support more of the same providers but it has a different look.

#9 Quatrux

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 07:38 PM

this is quite useful, I think I will use it myself, plus I might need that easy encoder not only for emails. :)

#10 ruben

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 08:18 PM

Hi there!
I do not believe that encoding helps. A not completely bad spam bot will crawl your address anyway. Don't forget it is a bot, so it still finds a unique @-character. This might help (or have helped) for some time, but since the spambots are developing too, you can expect that they will find these emailadresses too, sooner or later.
I read a German tutorial about how to really protect the email address while still giving full functionality. It is quite simple. You write your email like this
yourusername∂yourserver.com and later you replace the ∂ with a real @. This will be done with CSS and/or Javascript. In the end you get a fully working email address, so you fulfill the law, which says that you have to be reachable as a website owner (at least in Germany).

If you want to, I can translate the tutorial, it's not that difficult to do, except the CSS part (you don't get the idea that easily, but it is clear too).
It will always work except if CSS support is bad and JS disabled. If this occurs, than they have at least the ∂ there, everyone will know what it means (you can replace it with _AT_ too of course, but that's not that good because it has different names in different languages.
What do you say, shall I write a How-To? By the way, would I still get points for it :-P? I mean translation is work too...
But first tell me if you want it, because I don't translate with great pleasure :-/
I can assure that you're centuries ahead of normal spambots, because the @ and the email address aren't even in the same place on your webpage.
Good night,
Ruben

#11 bachdot

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 01:27 PM

Dear m^e,
That's a great tip! You could also insert your email in the following way, so people will know what they have to remove to use it:

myEmailAddr_remove_this_part@email.com

Thanks,
bachdot

[tab][/tab]HI all - a word of warning or rather, an advise. A good many of you post your email addresses in various posts for different reasons. Most of you might be unaware that posting emails in this way on public message boards opens up the gateway to SPAM mails directly.

[tab][/tab]Most SPAM Harvester Bots behave like search engine crawlers - crawling through each and every post of the public boards. Posting emails like this makes their job very very easy. If they arrive upon these posts, they'd simply rip your addresses off and add them to their database and thats the end of it. My recommendation is, try to avoid posting emails for your own safety - but in case you absolutely need to, try to adhere to the following format, or come up with a format of your own - a format which is humanly cognizable but can fool the bots.

Example: myemail@mydomain.com ==> myemail_AT_mydomain_DOT_com

If the bots can't find the "@" and "." signs in a string of characters, they don't treat the string as an email and discard it. On the other hand, presence of these two characters in it, is a sureshot way of voluntarily donating your address to the harvesters.

All the best :)
m^e

View Post



#12 miCRoSCoPiC^eaRthLinG

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 01:49 PM

Yup ! Absolutely ! Any format that is easily read by humans but can fool a bot or spoof it with spurious addresses is worth it

Bachdot, welcome to astahost and have a great stay :)

#13 twitch

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 09:40 AM

It is foolish to post your e-mail address in an open area anyway.

#14 twitch

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 09:46 AM

The signature created by GSig, is I believe GD generated. Therefore, a bot crawling there left-over files from the db should be able to find the e-mail addresses.
Posted Image
I wish I had the above e-mail.




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