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Protecting email addresses in online posts

Written By: Hugh J. Donagher, III on November 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm

In a couple of posts on this website, you may have seen email addresses written like this:

emailname [at] domain [dot] com

When you use that email address, you have to remove the spaces and replace the [at] with @ and the [dot] with a period.

Why make it so strangely complicated? Simply put, it’s to protect that email address from being harvested and spammed.

Automated processes, known variously as spiders, bots, spambots and crawlers, are programmed to literally crawl through every webpage they encounter looking for data that fits the unique format of an email address like emailname@domain.com. They store those addresses they find in databases that are later used to send out spam and phishing scams.

So do yourselves and others a favor, if you plan to post an email address here, protect it by using formatting similar to what you’ve seen. Variations are fine. Just make sure it’s reasonably easy for a human reader to figure out what modifications to make to return the address to machine readable format.

As always, you may direct questions about this topic to lionstechgroup [at] yahoo [dot] com. :)

P.S. Other clever ways of confounding the spiders and bots include formatting email to look like any of these examples:

email@NOSPAMdomain.com (email@domain.com)
email@REMOVETHISdomain.com (email@domain.com)
email@REMOVETHISdomain.ANDTHIScom (email@domain.com)

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