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How to make your email address invisible to harvesting bots

This is written by me, a relative novice at website/computer stuff and so might be of interest to you are at a simillar skill level.
There are plenty of other ideas about on the net and I can recommend Sarven Capadisli's excellent site for more advanced readers.


If you have a web site of your own and have published your email address in plain text on that site, you have probably been bombarded with spam emails for cheap viagra, dodgy software and plenty of other stuff as well. This happens because the web is constantly being scanned by computers set to harvest all the addresses they can find. They look for text around the @ sign and the "mailto" command amongst other things. Some are programmed to recognise simple techniques like writing "at" instead of the @ sign, using the asci code sequence for the @ sign and writing things such as "NO_SPAM" inside the address. So some of these techniques may not be too successful. However one method is completey unbreakable (AFAIK!) and this involves publishing your email address text in a jpeg image file like this:




The email address at the top of my homepage is also a .jpg image and both examples were made simply and quickly as follows.

In your favorite web page creating package, type in an email address in the place it needs to be displayed. If you are using a background image file( like these clouds) make sure it's already there. Press the " print screen button" on your keyboard. Open your image editing software and go "file" > "new" to start a canvas the same dimension as the image in the clipboard. Paste the image into the new workspace. Use the select tool to draw a tight dotted line around the eamil address and select "edit" > "crop" These steps are based on Photoshop protocol. Save the resulting image as a mid to high quality .jpg into the "image" directory of your web site. Back to the webpage in Dreamweaver or equivalent. Delete the email address you typed earlier and leave the insertion point where it was. "Insert" the new .jpg email image into the same place and it will look perfect!

If you want to use the "mailto" command to open an email client you will have to use java script to cause a click on the .jpg image to open it. With this technique the email address is broken into separate parts in the web page html code . These parts are assembled by the java script when the image is clicked on. Here is the little bit of code that does it.

<script language=javascript>
<!--
var x1 = "roger";
var x2 = "rogerj.co.uk";
document.write("<a href=" + "ma" + "ilto:" + x1 + "@" + x2 + "><img src=Images/email_image.jpg></a>")
//-->
</script>

Modify it to suit you own email address etc then copy and paste it into your webpage..It's that simple.

If you want to take it a step further and use encryption to totally diguise the text in the HTML code go to http://www.jracademy.com/~jtucek/email and follow Jim Tucek's instructions. I've implemented that code on the example email image on this page. Look at the source code to see it.

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