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A Quick Solution to Protect Your Blog From Spam Harvesters


spam costumeAre you tired of getting a ton of spam everyday? I am too but unfortunately there is no solution to eliminate it 100% but there are smart ways to avoid and reduce spam. The method I’m going to talk about is aimed at bloggers and how they can easily implement a preventative measure to reduce the amount and chances of spam being sent to them.

With the popularity and ease of setting up a blog, the number of people blogging increases daily. This is great but one main problem is most of these people aren’t usually educated in proper techniques such as spam prevention.

Did you know that putting your email address anywhere on your blog or website is an open invitation for new spam? Yes, you heard me right. Little do you know that trying to be nice and provide a method for your readers to contact you only causes you more harm than good.

Let me give you an example. The usual way to include your email address on your blog is to use the mailto: tag. This is the case if you use Blogger and any other blogging platform. Unfortunately for you, spam harvesters use “web spiders” to troll the internet and look for email address links on websites and blogs. When they come across your site they will look at the html code and grab your address.

Prevent Spam Harvesters From Getting Your Email Address

The best way to beat spam bots as well as giving your readers a way to contact you is to use a contact submission form. That way your email address is never displayed and a script handles the entire mailing process. This is a great option if you use WordPress but for people using Blogger, it’s not an option.

You don’t know how many Blogger blogs I’ve come across and just rolled my eyes. There it is…their email address listed right on their site. Look out spam, here it comes! So my quick solution to protect all blogs (especially Blogger users) from spam bots is to replace your email address with an image.

There are several sites out there that can create free email icon images for you but I like using this email icon generator site because it provides several cool options. My favorite is the branded email image based on your email host provider.

Here are some examples of email images I created in a few seconds:

mac.png
yahoo.png
aol.png
email2.png
emailaddress.png
mac.png
email3.png

As you can see, it supports all the popular email domain addresses as well as an option to create your own custom email address. It even hosts the image for you if you don’t want to copy and upload it to your own server. I recommend uploading it to your Blogger site so you’ve always got it available regardless.

Make sure after you use these images you do NOT turn them into a mailto link. If your email address is anywhere in the html code, spam harvesters will find it. I had a friend that I shared this trick with and he replaced his email address with this image but didn’t remove the mailto link! He might as well of not even used the image.

Damage Control – Where is My Email Address Today?

Ever wonder if your email address is publicly available today? A good test to see what sites publicly list your email address is to just Google it. If your email address is sjobs@mac.com then you’ll see that there are over 500 results in Google which is obviously a bad sign (I hope Steve Jobs has one heck of a good spam filter). There should be zero listings of your email address when you do a search. If not, you should go down the list of sites and ask them to kindly remove your email address because they are just feeding it to spam harvesters!

I usually Google my personal email address a few times a year just as a safety check. Just last year as I was doing my check, I noticed there was one site listing it! I was so mad and immediately contacted the site owner to take it down. It was an article submission site and they were carelessly publicly listing all their users email addresses. That’s just bad business. Eventually they took it down and I told them they should do the same for everyone else in their system.

Conclusion

If there’s one thing to take away from this article it’s to remember to never ever ever list your raw email address on your blog. It’s a guaranteed way to get spam faster than you can say “spam me please”. If you don’t believe me try setting up a new temporary email address and don’t use it for anything except this test. Now paste it on your blog and see how long it takes before you start getting junk email.

I hope the end of spam comes in the near future because just like you, I’m tired of wasting time in my day filtering and deleting junk email. Google or someone, please come up with a solution soon!

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Trackbacks

  1. New Layout and New Name: The Passive Dad | The Passive Dad on September 11, 2008
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30 Responses to “A Quick Solution to Protect Your Blog From Spam Harvesters”




   
sunduvan on Apr 15, 2008, 12:18 am  

I used your template. Now my problem is “we are doing a little work right now, your image will be back soon – photobucket” what should I do now? Helpp.. my blog is http://malaysianfishing.blogspot.com 🙁 🙁


   
bollyhub on Apr 21, 2008, 4:21 pm  

nice informative article . i had lost that link as my favorite for rmail icons …thanks for giving it back to me

http://www.bollywood-hub.com


   
Anwar on May 5, 2008, 1:52 am  

great tips ! thanks a lot for these information. I never know that SPAM can be prevented by replacing our text with images. Thanks again. 😉

btw, i’m currently using template downloaded from this site. feel free to surf my blog. adios !


   
myqute on May 21, 2008, 9:39 pm  

I use WP-HashCash….no comments are posted till I approve them. And I can bulk-approve or bulk-spam at one go. No more clicking on 99 comment links to approve or disapprove them. Very good plug-in for wordpress!


   
myqute on May 21, 2008, 9:40 pm  

@Sunduvan – That’s a photobucket image-hosting problem that wordpress can’t solve. 🙂 Your images are up I see.


   
William White on Aug 8, 2008, 7:46 pm  

Okay guys, this is WAY COOL and has infinite possibilities.

In my blog at http://www.willswebworks.com/blog/2008/08/convert-email-addresses-in-source-html-to-images-without-modifying-the-source/, I explain how I devised a method to output plain-text email addresses in HTML source as images of those email addresses when Apache web server outputs the HTML to the clients browser.

It takes advantage of a new feature very recently released in Apache 2.2.7. A regular expression substitution is performed on HTML to find email addresses and replace that code with an tag that refers to a tiny PHP script that generates the image.

My example uses an image, but you can replace the email address with any spam email harvester obfuscation method you’d like by putting the appropriate code as the replacement value of the regular expression.

The big deal? This method requires NO modification of the existing HTML code whatsoever. HUGE time saver, and this method can be propagated throughout an unlimited number of virtual servers running under the Apache server.

I hope you see the possibilities as much as I do!


   
Max Miller on Sep 25, 2008, 9:28 am  

Very informative! 😉


   
ontradeline on Dec 10, 2008, 9:23 am  

great tips ! thanks a lot for these information. Now, spam can be prevented by replacing our text with images. Thanks again. 😉

http://medica4u.blogspot.com
review my Blog

Regards
ontradeline


   
Karlo Alexie Puerto on Dec 13, 2008, 7:25 pm  

Thanks for the tip! I’d rather use images than the text link. It makes me more comfortable to post my e-mail address on the blog.


   
Zain on May 23, 2009, 12:44 pm  

That is informative.. but I’d suggest to embed a contact form in blogs, instead of placing these shiny images with your email address :p

Contacting via Contact Form is much easier for both sender and recipient ! 😉


   
neo on Jun 9, 2009, 3:13 am  

is there any way i get the visitor traffic
mine website is http://www.proamrishwa.blogspot.com
thanks


   
Financial Problems on Jul 13, 2009, 11:40 am  

A very nice and informative post..
I am applying above strategies on my blog RITE NOW!!!


   
sumeet on Jul 25, 2009, 11:16 pm  

i have downloaded ur ads theme and set it to my blog but i have a little problem with the search box in the header ,,, when users click on it the text displayed ( search , type hit enter ) doesnot go so users have to delete the text then type the search text plz help mew with this ..
also i want to add a 3 column footer to the ads theme , i searched many sites bit none helped .

plz help me , waiting for ur reply .


   
dieorfly on Aug 11, 2009, 12:09 am  

Hello David, nice article.

But I am displaying my email address not through the image. Because people can not copy past it. Instead of that I publish my email in this format: example (at) gmail (dot) com. It prevents spams and I think it is good option because people can copy past the address when they want to contact you and they will not misspell it. Just replace “at” and “dot” for appropriate symbols.

regards


   
Get 1000 Visitors on Aug 31, 2009, 10:26 pm  

Its a nice informative post to us. Thanks for sharing it. It gives us, some preventive methods from spam. I really enjoyed the post and I will surely follow the methods you suggessted.


   
Mursalin on Jan 15, 2010, 10:54 pm  

Great tips. I will share this information to my fellow friends. Thanks


   
Iftekhar on Jan 29, 2010, 1:31 am  

I did the mistake and suffered a lot. Thanks a lot, now I understand what was my fault.


   
Bollywood Events on Feb 4, 2010, 9:22 pm  

nice post thanks….


   
raso on Mar 5, 2010, 11:39 am  

Wonderful information David, Normally newbies are not aware of these kind of problem on their blogs .may be they even don’t know what a spammer can do with their e-mail .really informative for new comer like me.

thanks again David..


   
Clyde Mears on Mar 25, 2010, 9:51 pm  

This is a great article and I used the information immediately on our blog. I feel much better knowing that it will be a bit harder to harvest our email address from our contact page and prevent spam.

Sincerely, Clyde Mears
Diet Plan Superstore Blogger.


   
Nagarasa Pandi on Jun 30, 2010, 1:02 am  

I really need help like this and It is an interesting idea to stop spam emails. thanks.


   
Syahruman on Jul 20, 2010, 3:39 am  

I read your e-mail at the same time when I really want to learn how tobe a good bloging and right now I get new experience bloging with you. Thank you for the great informations. You may see may blog
http://www.bima-lanang.blogspot.com/
I use your tamplate


   
Angga Pradipta on Sep 23, 2010, 12:53 am  

i like this 🙂


   
ifeanyi on Apr 8, 2011, 4:18 am  

very informative… thanks for sharing


   
kailaschozhan on Sep 12, 2011, 9:33 am  

I look a good blogger template to make me to get more traffic thorugh feeds. Please let me know


   
Nuwamanya Mategyero on Sep 20, 2011, 1:50 pm  

this is great David, i will give it a try real soon.


   
kailaschozhan on Nov 6, 2011, 10:56 am  

Spam is not easy to avoid now a days but we can skip from it through new software development. But still I have problem with spam.




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