Is Your Email Address a Spam Magnet?

vacationThe vast and overwhelming amount of all so-called information on the internet is spam and that would not be the case if spamming was not a big money maker. So if you don’t want to spend your time canvassing your spam filter when your return home from vacation, then be sure your email address is not a spam magnet.

Don’t do it!

1.   Don’t post an email address on your blog in the conventional format that spam bots can harvest. 

Posting an email address on your blog in the conventional email format guarantees email address harvesting spam bots crawling the internet will collect it. Thereafter the spam masters who programmed the bots will sell your email address to other spammers and your blog will be deluged with spam.

Any email address published in conventional clickable form on a web page, blog, forum, etc. risks being collected and used as a target for mass mailing. The robots scan for mailto: tags or whatever looks like something@something.

Also note that some viruses that spread themselves by email read the browser’s cache of the infected computer to find possible victims: so if an infected computer is used to browse a web page containing your address, the virus might sends itself to you via an infected mail from that computer.

2.   Don’t publish a blog post announcing you are going on vacation.

3.   Don’t use the email indicator settings that say “I’m on vacation” or similar settings.

Instead configure your email  auto-reply to reply only to those email  recipients that you place in your contact list.  Because if you configure your email program to auto-reply to all incoming email, including spam messages will also receive a reply.

Protecting Your Email Address

Some of the most common email spamming techniques are listed  at How do spammers harvest email addresses?

The good news is that there ways to protect your email address from being harvested by spam bots and becoming a spam magnet.

Use a Contact Form

If you are a WordPress.com blogger know WordPress.com provides a secure contact form.

When a user submits your contact form, the feedback will be filtered through Akismet to make sure it’s not spam. Any legitimate feedback will then be emailed to you, and added to your feedback management area.

Use an Email Image Generator

my email

Protect your email address by generating an email image button and prevent it from getting harvested by spam software. Click the desired email generator below, enter the required information, save the image to your computer and upload it to your server, or a free image hosting server like Flickr, Image shack/Photo bucket etc. and hotlink to the image.

Encode Your Email Address

Protect your email address by “munging” or encoding your email address to prevent it from getting harvested by spam software.

Encoding type:
HEX (%70)   HTML Entity Number (m)

email me at

Use temporary disposable email accounts

Create and use temporary disposable email mailboxes from providers that shield your real email address from prying eyes.

For more information on protecting your email address from spammers  scroll down here to locate 10 Ways to Protect Against Email Spam.

28 thoughts on “Is Your Email Address a Spam Magnet?

  1. One of your most helpful posts ever, and that’s saying a lot. Munging– who knew?? I thought it was something that put cookie crumbs on your shirt. Will revisit this post and tweet it when the time’s more optimal for catching Twitter traffic. Thanks a heap! : )

  2. Thank you so much for the email image idea! That’s so simple, but brilliant. I actually didn’t realize the mailto: tag was “harvestable,” I thought only the actual text of the email address was at risk.

    Long time fan of your blog, first time commenter… thanks for all you do!
    Christy

  3. I can’t thank you enough for this post. I am in the middle of setting up a new WordPress blog which is a more static one – with an intended readership of local people who want to know more about me/yoga (I live in quite a conservative island community, and my sense from talking with people is there are a lot of folk who would like to try yoga but are a little nervous about what it entails and whether they would ‘manage’, so I want to give them an option of easily finding out more in advance of phoning/coming to class).

    I had been fretting about security, contact details and so on. I’d actually created a new email address for the site/business, and now, thanks to you, I’ve been able to use an email image generator to make it safer. Other people reading this thinking ‘oh that looks tricky, will I be able to do it?’ – honestly it was so easy – I am far from expert online and had never heard of an email image generator and it took me less than two minutes!

    1. Hi there,
      I’m happy that this was a timely post for you. As you discovered the email image generator is easy to use. Some of the most helpful practical tips I can share are easy to do and this one of them.

      There are so many people who would benefit from yoga and I glad you are prepared to deal with the myths and encourage them to try it. Yoga is the mainstay of my exercise program. Without it I have serious mobility issues. With it I can cope quite well. There’s no doubt it everyone can benefit from yoga.

      Best wishes with your new site.

  4. This is a useful post, thanks.

    Is it safe to display one’s email address in this manner? something(at)something(dot)com

  5. Timethief … I just added a link to my Gravatar – based on advice you gave me May 12th. Yes, I am that slow. Now I wanted to follow thru with today’s advice, but I got stuck when I came to the form with Gravatar that talked about encoding, etc. So I’m not certain that I completed the info you posted today.(While I do get the occasional spam, it’s not like it was more than a year ago. And I certainly don’t want to do something to increase their activity.

    Could you look at my Gravatar and make sure I’ve done it right? Do I have to switch out the link every week to include my new posts? Thank you.

    1. Hello,
      I’m so glad I reached you. There are so many people out there who need to know this. Please spread the word about how to protect your email address from being harvested by spam bots.

  6. Something else I’m not so sure about. It seems I’ve been getting a few reblogs lately and some appear to be sites that do nothing but reblog. Having someone think enough of one of my posts to reblog is a nice compliment, but I’m not so sure about the folks who appear to use only other people’s content. Any thoughts on this?

    1. Yes I do have thoughts on this. I occasionally reblog a related post and that’s my way of promoting the content ie. making my readers aware of what’s in it. However, I report all blogs I come upon that are full of nothing but reblogged content. It’s my position that such blogs ought to be be made private and not crawled by search engines.

  7. Thanks so much for the suggestions. I hate spam and I also hate telemarketers. I happen to be under assault by a company wanting me to renew a trial SiriusMX that came with the car….. don’t know how they got my phone#, but I’m getting calls TWICE a day seven days a week! If I might have considered extending, I certainly have no intention of doing so now. I’m THAT irritated. ;)

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