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Defeat Those Spam Robots!

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Click to: How to Display Email on Your Website

The Do's and Don'ts

  1. Don't display live email address links on your web pages. Spammers' robots scour the Internet and capture email addresses which, when clicked, open the user's email program so they can easily type a message. It's convenient and easy for the user, but the link will most certainly be deposited into a data bank with other email addresses. That database will circulate and be copied and the spam problem will worsen. See suggestions below for displaying web page email links.

Are you a website owner? Do not display an email address in the footer at the bottom of your web page. Instead, display a one or two word phrase ("Email Us" will do) that links to the Contact page or the General Inquiry form.

  1. Don't allow organizations to make links of your listings. When you agree to have your email address displayed with your online listing on the website of professional and civic organizations to which you belong, request that it NOT be displayed as a live link. Check your listing! If you can click on your email address and open a blank message on your computer, contact the organization and ask them to list it using one of the methods described below.

  2. Do encrypt website email links. If you must display your email link on a web page, make sure your webmaster has encrypted it so it cannot be detected by spam robots. (Let us know if you've discovered a surefire way to make this work.)

  3. Do ask friends to remove you from their group email messages (and don't send group messages yourself). Not only can others on the list copy the list and create their own (thinking, of course, that you would also desire to belong to their list!), but spam robots can easily pick up the entire list and circulate it. Kindly request friends to remove you from the distribution list.

  4. Don't use lots of different email addresses. The same 20 spam messages going to five different addresses becomes 100 spam messages in your Inbox. That's overwhelming. Consolidate as much as possible using only one to three email addresses.

  5. Never send credit card details or confidential information by email. There's some suspicion that spammers hacking into personal computers may be re-sending messages you've sent to spam databases. Why else would the spam you receive in your inbox include legitimate messages intended for other people? You cannot guarantee that your message will not land in places it shouldn't.

  6. Do try different spam filters and tools within your own Outlook program. They will make a big difference. Right within your PC, your Outlook email program offers a Microsoft rules wizard into which you can type words that commonly appear in spam subject lines to be flagged as spam and automatically sent to a special folder (Outlook, Tools, Rules and Alerts, Email Rules, New Rule, etc.).

Another tool available to you within your Outlook program is Microsoft's junk mail filtering program. This allows you to place a button on your screen that says "Add Sender to Blocked Senders List" and another button, "Add Sender to Safe Senders List." You can customize and add other buttons (such as "Block Domain"), then click incoming messages and mark them appropriately.

You can also set the level of security within your Outlook program to protect your computer against viruses.

  1. Do subscribe to a third party email software of your choice. Some software programs make it more difficult for spam to get through to you, often requiring every email sender to confirm their identity first. Others do not interact with senders. Check them out to see which is appropriate for your needs.

    Choice Mail allows you to initially screen all incoming messages and manage your incoming email. Cloudmark (formerly SpamNet) is a program used successfully by Wordpix client Leslie P. Boston of Stone and Scott, Publishers. Mr. Boston says the Cloudmark system teaches the user to block certain messages (which you may unblock at any time) and routinely sends messages from those senders to a special folder. "Cloudmark misses few spam items."

A little program called "I Hate Spam" acts very much like the Microsoft junk mail tools already available to you by placing a special toolbar on your email program screen, which you can use to mark incoming messages for future deposit to a Quarantine folder.

Take control of your inbox. None of these steps will totally alleviate the overwhelming influx of unsolicited email, but all of them will make a noticeable difference and help you gain back your productivity and peace of mind.

Ways to Display an Email Address on a Web Page

Although developers and programmers have developed techniques for defeating spam (encryption and special coding of email addresses, etc.), and third party spam reduction services, software and email programs exist to help combat the problem, there are some simple things you can do to address the problem at its source: The email address you display on your web page, whether in the page footer, header or within the text.

It's that famous "at" sign (@) that gets us in trouble and increases our chances of having the email address harvested by spam robots. So let's find another way to display the @. Keep in mind that no successful method will work forever. Spammers are determined to mess up our efficient communications systems.

IMPORTANT: Display the email address as text, but not as a link. Or make it a link to an Inquiry form or your Contact page.

1. infoThis @ sign is a graphic! Right-click on it to save it as a
The "@" sign is not typed. It is a graphic image.
The email address does not link to anything.
2. info AT
The "@" sign is typed as text, not typed as a symbol.
Spaces are placed before and after it.
The email address does not link to anything.

This email address is not text. It's a graphic!
The entire email address is a graphic image.
It can be a link, but should link only to an inquiry form or contact page.


Email Us
A simple link to your inquiry form.

If you make the email address a link, make sure
it does NOT open the user's email program.


  • Have the email link to an inquiry form or your website's Contact page.

  • Do not allow an email link to open the user's email program.

Who is this Dirty, Rotten Scoundrel Spammer?

Spammers are said to belong to large gangs using sophisticated software they've developed. Researchers feel these gangs are responsible for up to 80 percent of all unwanted emails.

Spammers make money by selling their large email databases.

Just reviewing a message in the Preview window could confirm your email address!

Spammers send millions of email messages using other people's computers, even yours (a good reason to turn off your computer when it's not in use).

Although some spammers have been caught and prosecuted under the CANN SPAM regulations effective 1/1/05, it is difficult to track them. New spam programs mutate among different computers and use fast broadband connections, aiding the spammers in their shenanigans.

The United States, Poland and China are the top sources of spam.

Don't let them get your email address. Use the tips in this story.


Should I Explain to My Visitors Why the Email Link Won't Open Their Email Program?

Sure, not a problem. We use brief explanations like the following on many websites. Most users understand the spam problem and are cooperative. To enhance usability, however, make the link open an Inquiry form (and don't have a lot of "required" fields on the form).

Friendly notes for website visitors
Please TYPE* the following into the To line of your email message: info
We regret that we must take measures to defeat those vicious spam robots. We appreciate your manually typing the following email address into the To line of your email message: info
We appreciate your entering some brief information about your inquiry into our general inquiry form.

Reduce Your Spam with Outlook Rules

Follow these guidelines in your Microsoft Outlook program to create "rules" to deposit unsolicited emails (automatically) into your Junk (or any other specified) folder: Open Outlook and select as follows: Tools, Rules and Alerts, New Rule. In the Rules Wizard window, select Move Messages from Someone (you will have an opportunity to enter the email address or name) OR Move Messages with Specific Words in the Subject. Continue by clicking Next. Check the appropriate box. In the bottom section of the window, click on the hyperlink words and enter the email address of the messages you do not wish to receive, or the specific words contained in subject lines of messages you do not want to receive. Then select the hyperlink to tell Outlook which folder to move these banned messages to. To add more, click Next. When done, click Finish. (You also have the option to permanently delete specified messages - would it not be nice to permanently delete all spam?! Just be careful not to list words that may contain topics you do want to receive.)

Don't Reply to Spam Messages!

Unless you know the source of the unsolicited message to be a legitimate organization and an Unsubscribe link is provided, never bounce the spam back to its sender and never hit your Reply button to send a message to the sender. Doing so merely confirms that your email address exists and keeps you in the spammer's database.

Your Ideas and Feedback?

We'd love to update this article (frequently!) to let our customers and friends know about programs, software and techniques that could help them reduce the amount of junk being sent to their inboxes. Email us to let us know of something we should include here.

Thank you for doing your part to CAN SPAM.


Permission to reprint this article is granted if attribution is included as follows or similar:

Copyright Wordpix Solutions and author Peggi Ridgway,

Copyright Wordpix Solutions
   03/27/2008Hit Counter