Spam is a way of life on the internet. It has grown increasingly incessant and tirelessly fills our inboxes with garbage emails.
On Site Builder there are two forms of spam. The first is directly through the Feedback button on each site. Until recently this feature would email any user with access to this page with the spam. This has now been changed and all feedback is currently routed through the WCS office for filtering and dissemination.
The Second, and more prevalent form of spam is direct spam to email addresses found on the website. These addresses are gathered using bots which circulate the internet searching for email addresses. What we will talk about in this tutorial is methods for avoiding this type of spam.
Hiding your address
The simplest and most effective way of preventing spam is to simply NOT post your email address online. If it's not there, spam tools cannot find it. This poses a problem for most users though, since most people want to be contacted by legitimate people.
Confusing the bots
Another effective method of preventing spam is to make your address unrecognizable to spam bots. When posting your email address on a website, simple replace symbols with words, and enter characters to confuse a machine, but not a human.
In these cases an actual person will be able to read the text and know the difference, but a machine will not.
Note that creating a link to your actual email address will defeat this measure, as collection bots also search code for the same markers of an email address.
A Picture is worth 1000 words
The final and most effective method for deterring spam collection is to simply make your email address a picture. This means creating an image in an image software program with the actual address typed into it and inserting that image instead of actual text.
Most bots will ignore images completely, since they are unable to interpret the pixels as words.
The downfall with this method is that users cannot copy the text, nor can they click on the address to get the email. They must manually enter the address themselves.
Other Tips and Tools
- Certain mail clients deal with spam better than others. Mozilla Thunderbird has a built in spam tool that learns what you consider spam and adjusts filters to your needs.
- Avoid Forwards. A major tool for spammers are joke emails and mass forwards which accumulate more and more email addresses as they are passed along. These often take the guise of charity services, stories or chain letters or jokes. These are great tools for spammers to gather emails and should not be passed on.