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6 Ways to Keep Your Email Away from Spammers

by Dave on July 12, 2010

spam alert signThis post is part of an ongoing series about stopping e-mail spam.

The best way to keep your e-mail away from the spammers is to simply not give your address out at all. That’s a great theory but realistically that’s not the best solution. But there really are some things that you can do to make it more difficult for the spammers to find your e-mail address.

First, don’t make the problem worse. Learn to use BCC (blind carbon copy) to reduce the risk to your e-mail recipients. Teach friends and relatives to use BCC so they reduce the risk to you. If they won’t cooperate, ask them to stop sending you chain e-mail. 

If you own a website and your address is listed on it, I suggest you consider removing it and replacing it using one of the following methods.

- Use text that is obvious to a human, but not to a machine, for example:
 john (at) mydomain (dot) com, or
 john _AT_ mydomain _DOT_com.

This solution is inconvenient to the user as they can no longer just click on a link to e-mail you, they must manually type in the address but may be useful to some.

 - Display the address as an image. The harvester robots can’t decipher images. To see your e-mail address, the user must have images turned on in their browser and again they must manually type in the address.

 - Protect the page with a password. This solution offers good protection but it’s not suitable for public websites.

 - Encode the address with JavaScript. This is my personal choice for websites. It’s relatively simple to set up, but does require that Javascript be enabled in the user’s browser.

 - Use a contact form, a special form on a web page which users can fill out to contact you. This is another good option, especially for a business website, but it requires that the user have an e-mail client set up on their computer. This option also requires some tech know-how to set up.

Be very cautious of giving your e-mail address freely when you visit blogs and forums. Read the privacy policies and run the other direction at the first sign of problems. The same goes when signing up for social media sites.

Anytime you register for information, software or most anything, you’ll be asked for your e-mail address. Read the privacy policy to see if it’s OK or if it sounds like a problem. If it’s a free site, (not a paid site) consider a tool such as http://www.bugmenot.com/.

Many websites and services have begun offering improved privacy or even anonymized e-mail addresses such as Craiglist.org.

Another option to consider is disposable e-mail addresses. But that’s another topic.

What are your thoughts on e-mail spam?

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Related posts:

  1. How Do the Spammers Get Your Email Address?
  2. Foil Spammers – Use BCC: instead of CC: in Your E-mail

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