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Spamproofing Your Email Address Just Got Harder



June 30th, 2009 07:25 am | by Ed |

If you're like me then probably for a long time you've used javascript to munge email addresses that you put on your websites in order to keep the spambots from being able to use them while keeping them readable and usually clickable for visitors.

All of that is changing however, thanks in large part to the fact that Google is now doing a lot more to parse javascript it finds on pages. While the javascript remains intact in cached copies of your site, When that javascript encoded email shows up in Google's results pages, it's been parsed back into the email address that the script was supposed to conceal. This means that it sheds it's cloaking faster than an obese person sheds pounds when they're taking the best fat burners they can find and exercising like mad. Thus your carefully protected email address is once again harvestable by spambots. All they need do is scour google search results for patterns that look like email addresses.

The answer is of course that it's time to change how you cloak the address. I've read that, for the time being anyway, email cloaking scripts that are contained in external .js files and used as an include have not been broken yet, although I can't help thinking that it's only a matter of time before Google & co. start processing those bits as well.

When that happens, about the only way I can think of to be able to display an email address will be to make a graphic image of it and use that instead of any code that contains the address. The problem with this is that while visitors will be able to read it, it won't be clickable or available by copy & paste. Besides that I have to wonder how long it's going to be before some enterprising young spammer decides to apply OCR to those images.

I guess time will tell.

In the meantime, I'd like to hear from readers what methods you are using to keep email addresses spam-proof and how effective you believe they are.

Technorati Tags: google, address munging, spam proofing methods, parsing scripts, email, javascript, spam proofing, decoding email addresses

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