How to Avoid Spambots

How to Avoid Being Harvested by Spambots

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Advanced Munging

In addition to replacing the @s (@) in email addresses in order to avoid spambots, you can also replace any other character with its corresponding ASCII code. The table below represents most the characters and their corresponding ASCII character codes that are likely to appear in your email addresses.

a = an = n0 = 0
b = bo = o1 = 1
c = cp = p2 = 2
d = dq = q3 = 3
e = er = r4 = 4
f = fs = s5 = 5
g = gt = t6 = 6
h = hu = u7 = 7
i = iv = v8 = 8
j = jw = w9 = 9
k = kx = x. = .
l = ly = y- = -
m = mz = z_ = _

It is possible to completely disguise an email address with nothing but ASCII codes. For example, the following two lines will appear exactly the same to a visitor using a browser if they are included in the HTML of your website (the two lines are color coded so you can more easily see the ASCII character codes that correspond to the actual characters in the address):

carol@example.com
­c­a­r­o­l­@­e­x­a­m­p­l­e­.­c­o­m

You can enter an email address in the field below and it will automatically be munged with character codes. You can then copy and paste the munged address onto your website.

 
(Please note: we never store or record any email addresses you enter here.)

You may also use ASCII character codes to create a munged but clickable link to an email address from your website. For example, you can include a link formatted in the following way on your pages:

<a href="mailto:XXX">YYY</a>
(Where you replace both XXX and YYY with your munged address.)

It is advisable to also mung the "mailto:" in the <a> tag as some spambots may use this as a way of identifying email addresses on a page. Links with a munged mailto should look like:

<a href="&#109;&#97;&#105;&#108;&#116;&#111;&#58;XXX">YYY</a>
(Where you replace both XXX and YYY with your munged address.)

Again, formatted in this way, email addresses will appear perfectly normal, and will even be clickable, to human visitors to your website. However, a majority of current spambots will not be able to recognize them. It should be noted that spammers are always adjusting their spambots and some address-harvesting spambots can already read ASCII character codes. On the next page we will look at some techniques that are still 100% effective.

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