Cloak and Daggers: Protecting Your Email Address From Spammers

Listing your email address in your website is a great idea. You want your email address prominently displayed so that clients, prospective clients and website visitors have an easy way to contact you. However, the advent of Spam makes this a little more complicated. Today, programs known as spam bots or spiders roam the information superhighway, randomly searching for email addresses posted on websites. Your websites – and your email addresses – are prime targets.

The result? You wade through hundreds of junk mail daily. Potentially millions of dollars worth of productivity is sacrificed as you delete the rubbish in your inbox. Each day, you wince as screaming banners tell you to enlarge certain body parts, become filthy rich before your next cup of coffee or buy cheap medication concocted in somebody’s kitchen. Worse, the occasional Spam generated by a virus penetrates your inbox and kills your operation for a day or two.

It is annoying, yes. You have as much right to complain as the guy who is roused from bed at 6 on a Sunday morning by a salesman. Getting junk mail is just as infuriating. It is the same concept of privacy invasion. Even worse, it is a serious obstacle to your productivity.

And Spam spiders are the main culprits.

However, advancements in technology have turned the fight against Spam bots in your favor. It is now possible to cloak email addresses such that the email address is still visible to website visitors yet invisible to Spam bots.

For example, if your email address is listed as in your website, the html code in your web page will appear as:

<a href=”>></a>

The above code is vulnerable to Spam bots. This email address will be harvested and added to some Spammer’s mail list.

The above code is vulnerable to Spam bots. This email address will be harvested and added to some Spammer’s mail list.

However, if your email is effectively cloaked, the Spam bots will see a set of random codes such as the following:

<a href="&#109;&#97;&#105;&#108;&#116;&#111;&#58;&#99;&

Meanwhile, visitors to your website will still see your email address, and you will be able to maintain contact with your website’s target audience.

Cloaking is an excellent technique that confuses those vicious Spam spiders, thus providing an effective solution to junk mail. The result is less garbage in your inbox and more productivity for you and your employees.

Is your current email address cloaked? Well, a quick check of S.E.C. member sites would suggest that it is not. As you read this article, yet another Spam spider is pulling your email address into its cache. The solution is inexpensive and simple. You just need to take action.
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