Hiding your email from spammers

Is it worth trying to hide your email address from spammers and bots on your web page or will you end up getting spam regardless. Here are 9 ways to display your address on a web site and the associated volume of spam that arrived within a few days once bots had tried to pick out the address.

Apparently, posting your email in plain text leads to the biggest pile landing in your inbox, but surprisingly obfuscating the address with javascript or putting [at] instead of the @ sign doesn’t work particularly well either.

It seems that the best way is to use some kind of styling code (CSS) that puts hidden dummy letters in the address so that genuine visitors who wish to email you see a legitimate address but bots that scrape the page just get the dummy address, which of course will bounce back as error as it doesn’t exist while your true correspondents will be able to get in touch.

CSS Codedirection 0 MB – No Spam!

<span style=”unicode-bidi:bidi-override; direction: rtl;”> moc.elpmaxe@zyx </span>

CSS display:nonen 0 MB – No Spam!

xyz<span style=”display:none”>foo</span>@example.com

ROT13 Encryption 0 MB – No Spam!


Using ATs and DOTs 0.084 MB – A little spam

xyz AT example DOT com

Building with Javascript A little bit more spam

var m = xyz; // you can use any clever method of m += @;// creating the string containing the email m += example.com;// and then add it to the DOM eg, via $.email.appendm; // jquery

Replacing ‘@’ and ‘.’ with Entities A lot more spam


Splitting E-Mail with comments Masses of spam

xyz<!– eat this spam –>@<!– yeah! –>example<!– shoo –>com

Urlencode Terrifying amounts of spam


Plain Text Crapflood


One approach they didn’t test is to use a form instead of displaying email or to use a graphic showing your email rather than any text. However, neither of those techniques allows a legitimate caller to click and email and might deter new customers, clients or contacts from getting in touch if it adds steps to their emailing process.

Also, remember large volumes of spam could eat into your data plan, so aside from it being totally annoying and a timewaster it could actually start costing you money to receive it. An additional tip, don’t make any of your email addresses simple like “surname@example.com” or “webmaster@mysite.com” as spammers create dictionaries of email address by tacking words and names on to domain names and so don’t even need to know that an address exists on your site to spam you.

via Does Email Address Obfuscation Actually Prevent Spam?

Author: David Bradley

Freelance science journalist, author of Deceived Wisdom. Photographer and musician.