Stopping Spam from Your Web site


Important Note as of 12/30/03:

I’ve done some testing with SpamStopper and I can’t recommend it. I put up a test email address protected by SpamStopper that wasn’t anywhere else on the Internet. Within 24 hours I was receiving spam at that address. This article has been since edited to hide the email addresses being used as examples.

Once your Web site is up and running you may be inundated with spam for low home interest rates, cable descramblers, male enhancement drugs that rhyme with Niagara and, ironically, software to reduce spam.

How Do They Get Your Email?

One method spammers—the people sending spam—use to collect email addresses is through “harvesting”. Their software scours the Web to collect email addresses that appear on Web pages. Once they have your email address they will spam you into submission. Since many sites contain the owner’s email address (and why not?) they inadvertently invite spam to the site owner’s mailbox.

In a recent FTC study, 86% of emails created for the study and posted to the Web received spam within just six weeks! If the address had the “@” sign in it, it drew spam.

How Do You Stop Them?


A piece of software called SpamStopper can help reduce your chances of being found by these harvesters. Most characters (a-z, 1-9, @, “, ”, and ¢ for example) can be converted into a special code which can be read by a browser. [Edited to hide email addresses now.]

How Do You Get The Software?

SpamStopper is only for the people who work on your site and know HTML. Also, it won’t help you with all spam, and harvesters may one day adapt. The software is like the The Club for your car: it won’t stop everyone, but it will make you a less attractive target.

If you’d like us to convert the emails on your own site to code, talk to your Web developer or contact us.

I’d like to thank our client Robert Gerzon who turned me on to this piece of software. He’s the author of the highly-acclaimed Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety and has a Web site dedicated to Conscious and Creative Living.

–Rich Brooks


President, flyte new media