One of the most disheartening things about having a new website is spam. It can attack in several ways:
1) The email addresses on the site are ‘harvested’ by spammers. All those email recipients then receive ever-increasing levels of unwanted emails.
2) The lovely form designed to receive information from interested customers starts to receive lots of spurious messages that appear to be meaningless drivel.
3) Comments are received on the blog that are completely meaningless, irrelevant and full of strange links.
Fortunately there are ways to defeat all of these problems, or at least get them down to manageable proportions.
This week I am going to look at getting rid of email link spam:
One of the reasons it happens is that email addresses are worth money. If a spammer can send out emails to lots of people and 1% of people buy something as a result then the more emails the spammer sends the more money he or she makes. A spammer sending 10 million emails will make 10 times as much as a spammer sending 1 million emails (all other things being equal). But, you say, these emails are not selling anything, how does the spammer make money? The links and pictures in the emails are there to test whether the email address is ‘live’ before selling it on!
The best way to stop this process from happening is to have the email addresses on your website unreadable by the harvesting program. Many people do this by putting up a picture of the email address rather than a real link. This causes inconvenience to your real visitors as they can no longer click on the link to send you an email, they have to type it themselves (and will inevitably make mistakes). This results in you receiving fewer legitimate emails and, if you are selling something, making fewer sales.
How about setting up links that are unreadable to the harvesting programs but are fully readable by humans and work properly as links?
Try this one: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clever? In the next article I will explain how you can set this up.