I am getting loads of spam through my contact form. Any ideas how to stop them and not exclude any real inquiries?
–Frustrated in Framingham
Sigh, the curse of the spambots. Welcome to the battlefield.
Unfortunately, as forms "age", they tend to be more susceptible to bots–little pieces of script–that in this case are used by spammers to fill up your inbox.
I used to get over 100/day of these time-wasters. We’ve recently been using two different forms that–so far–have been nearly perfect in protecting us from these emails.
One is a script you may be able to add to the very form you’re using now. It adds a piece of code that checks if the submit button has been pushed.
See, these spambots don’t actually use the form on your Web site, they go straight to the script that makes the form run, bypassing the submit button. By checking if this button is clicked, you can block about 99% of these emails. Users don’t notice any difference and aren’t required to type in a captcha, those sometimes indecipherable alpha-numeric combinations on irritating backgrounds. The script does require PHP on your server, and you may need to change the suffix of your Web page to .php to make it work.
Another option that we’ve used is called Wufoo. You can see us using their form at jobs page. This is a hosted solution that costs $9/mo…a worthwhile investment if you’re spending too much time deleting spam from your inbox. Wufoo has some nice additional options as well, including some small e-commerce solutions. However, we’ve found that the secure version of Wufoo doesn’t play well in IE6 (what does) so it might not be ideal for that purpose. Also, the autoresponder that’s sent to the person who completes your form has a Wufoo.com address…some people might find that a deal breaker, but it’s required to help email delivery.
Readers…what do you use to stem incoming spam from your Web site contact forms?