Email Harvesting

Email Harvesting and reducing Spam to your Web Site:

Is your in-box clogged with junk email messages from people you don’t know? Are you overwhelmed by unsolicited email offering products or services you don’t want? Are you being exposed to objectionable messages? Are you being targeted by illegal schemes and potential identify fraud?

According to research done by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) one of the top locations that spammers get your email address is from your own web site.

Their study revealed:

  • 86 percent of the email addresses posted to web pages received spam. It didn’t matter where the email addresses were within the web page.

The good news for web site owners is that we can minimize the amount of spam that you receive without harming the ability of your customers to contact you. Call us Toll Free (866-486-7747) for more details. Refer also to our reposted article on Phishing.

Spammers use automated computer programs (called email harvesting programs) that search throughout the Internet to compile, capture, or otherwise “harvest” lists of email addresses from web pages, newsgroups, chat rooms, and other online destinations. Because these programs are automated, spam can hit email addresses soon after they are first made public and some addresses are picked up off of web pages even when they aren’t visible to the eye. Other more sophisticated spammers actually use spiders much like Google does. These spiders or spam bots visit site after site, collecting email addresses by the thousands. When it comes to controlling these rogue spiders, the robots.txt file simply won’t get the job done. In fact, most spam robots will ignore robots.txt. Below are a few simple techniques that can help you stop the less sophisticated spammers. If you would like a higher degree of protection call us toll free (866-486-7747) as we provide a number of proven techniques that are guaranteed to reduce your spam.

Techniques to reduce spam to your web site email addresses:

1.Use hidden Javascripts to mask email addresses present on your website.

One of the weaknesses that spiders of all kinds suffer from 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 web browsers.

2. Use a contact form instead of a “mailto:” tag.

Your web site email address won’t be displayed in this case and won’t be harvested by spam spiders. We offer scripts that will work with ASP, Perl, or PHP and allow your users to fill in a form, and send you an email without compromising your site to email harvesters and spammers. Another advantage of contact forms is that it can enable you to deal with a higher volume of mail, by allowing you to pre-sort different types of message. This is easily accomplished by creating a drop- down menu with different options (e.g. customer service, billing, tech support, etc.) that will populate the subject line of the email message. Many contact forms are however not set up correctly to prevent spam and actually have the TO: email address present as a hidden text tag on the web page. We can correct this so that you receive the full protection a contact form should provide.

Basic Tips to minimize Email Harvesting:

1. Consider “masking” your email address. Masking involves putting a word or phrase in your email address so that it will trick a harvesting computer program, but not a person. For example, if your email address is “,” you could mask it as “” Be aware that some newsgroup services or message boards won’t allow you to mask your email address and some harvesting programs may be able to pick out common masks.

2. Use a separate screen name for chatting. If you use chat rooms, use a screen name that’s not associated with your email address. Consider using the screen name only for online chat.

3. Set up disposable addresses. Decide if you want to use two email addresses – one for personal messages and one for posting in public. Consider using a disposable email address service that creates separate email addresses that forwards to your permanent account. If one of the disposable addresses begins to receive spam, you can shut it off without affecting your permanent address.

4. Use two email accounts. If you work for a business or organization that wants to receive email from the public, consider creating separate accounts or disposable email addresses for that purpose, rather than having an employee’s address posted in public.

5. Use a unique email address, containing both letters and numbers. Your choice of email address may affect the amount of spam you receive because some spammers use “dictionary attacks” to email many possible name combinations at large ISPs or email services, hoping to find a valid address.

For more advanced spam prevention web security solutions please Call us Toll Free (866-486-7747) for more details.

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