How To Stop S-P-A-M And Save Time!

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How To Stop S-P-A-M (And Save Time!)
By Steve Nash

Don't you just love e-mail, but hate s-p-a-m (un-solicited e-mail) and the amount of time it wastes?

If you're a webmaster, or your e-mail address has been put on your website, chances are you'll get more than your fair share of un- wanted, sometimes downright annoying, S P A M! (And it doesn't bear thinking about how much time you probably waste, on average, deleting those nonsense e-mails!)

Well, this short article shows you several ways you can reduce this unwanted e-mail, and even what to do if a particular e-mail address is being bombarded with s-p-a-m!

This article covers:

o How webmasters get S P A M in the first place
o Tip 1 - Encrypt your e-mail address with unicode
o Tip 2 - Encrypt your e-mail address using JavaScript
o Tip 3 - Use an anti- S P A M feedback form
o Help me! I'm being bombarded with s-p-a-m...
o Further reading

=> How Webmasters Get S P A M In The First Place

It's well known that putting your e-mail address on a website is a sure way to get more than your fair share of s p a m. This is because of so-called email-harvesting-robots - automatic programs that scour the web collecting e-mail addresses.

So put your 'un-protected' e-mail address on a website, and - soon enough - you'll have all sorts of unwanted e-mails in your in-box.

== ASIDE ==
You may well get S P A M sent to the e-mail address you leave at a forum, or newsgroup too. In this case, you need to use a freebie e-mail address instead, as mentioned in the article Post-Script. == ASIDE ==

Here are a few tips that WILL help reduce what I call 'webmaster s p a m':

=> Tip 1 - Encrypt Your E-Mail Address With Unicode.

Simply put, this means replacing letters and numbers in your e- mail address with its unicode equivalent; e.g. a@b.c would be a@b.c

I use Mailto-Encrypter, a Windows-compatible program available at http://www.ModernBytes.cjb.net , but you might want to visit the following online resource. The "Advanced Email Link Generator with Anti-Spam Encoder" generates mailto: links you can copy and paste into your web pages and emails. http://willmaster.com/possibilities/demo/aelgwase.html

(You can also find several mailto encrypters at Google
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=mailto+encrypter.)

=> Tip 2 - Encrypt Your E-Mail Using JavaScript.

Using a simple JavaScript program like this:



will produce mailto:aaa@bbb.com on your webpage; which will act as a valid e-mail address, that can not be detected by the 'e-mail harvesting' robots.

=> Tip 3 - Use An Anti- S P A M Feedback Form.

Not only can your e-mail address be extracted from a standard Perl/CGI form, but sometimes your feedback form can actually be used to send S P A M! (Early versions of FormMail suffer from this security flaw, apparently!)

Enter the Master Feedback form from Willmaster.com - an anti- S P A M feedback form. In the words of Willmaster.com: "Master Feedback helps you S P A M -proof your site by not requiring your email address anywhere on your page, not even embedded in hidden form fields or other HTML tags. Now you can stop feeding [those] email address harvesting robots!"

The feedback form is available, free, at
http://willmaster.com/master/feedback/

=> Help Me! I'm Being Bombarded With S-P-A-M...

The above tips will *definitely* reduce the amount of S-P-A-M you receive. But what happens if your e-mail address is already receiving loads and loads of junk e-mail?

Well, here's what I do with one particular POP3 e-mail address that attracts all sort of un-pleasant e-mails - I read it online, using Mail2Web.
http://www.mail2web.com

Ordinarily, I receive most of my POP3 e-mail - i.e. non web-based e-mail - using Outlook. But for one e-mail address, I just visit Mail2Web and read the e-mail as if it were a Hotmail account. This doesn't stop me getting S P A M, but it's a lot easier to mass-delete the e-mail nasties, and there's absolutely no need for me to read them beforehand!

All you need to use this service is your e-mail address, and the password used to access it.
http://www.mail2web.com

== ASIDE ==
I don't think Mail2Web works with Hotmail, Yahoo! or other web- based e-mail account, but then there would be little point in using it if it did. To reduce S P A M using one of these e-mail services, I suggest you refer to their e-mail filtering options. == ASIDE ==

=> Further Reading

This article has provided a few solutions to the problems of receiving s-p-a-m; but they are not the only solutions. For further reading on the ongoing battle against S P A M, and how that battle is affecting both the innocent and the guilty, take a look at these links...

http://www.ecommercebase.com/article/543
http://website101.com/SpamFilter/spam_fighting.html
http://website101.com/SpamFilter/spamfilter.html
http://website101.com/SpamFilter/spamcop_vigilanties.html

PS: And as for leaving your e-mail address on a newsgroup or forum, all I can suggest is that you ONLY ever leave your Hotmail or Yahoo! free e-mail address! Sign-up for your free e-mail here

http://www.Hotmail.com
http://www.TextMeFree.com/email
http://www.Lycos.co.uk
http://www.Yahoo.com

Copyright 2002 Steve Nash. All Rights Reserved.

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