Spam refers to junk email that’s sent out in mass quantities. On average, three-fourths of the email that’s sent every day is spam. Spammers find email addresses in a variety of ways, most commonly by searching for email addresses listed on websites via Email Harvesting techniques and by means of computer viruses and hacking. They can then sell the lists of addresses to other spammers, and continue to pester people with an endless amount of unwanted emails.
If Spam is becoming a problem for you. Take a look at the following information and take the recommended steps to protect yourself and reduce the amount of spam you are receiving.
Email Harvesting is the process of obtaining lists of email addresses using various methods for use in bulk email or other purposes usually grouped as spam. Harvesters use "spiders" to crawl websites and obtain valid email addresses so that they can be either used to send you spam, or so that they can sell your email address to the highest bidder.
Here are a few recommendations to help keep your email out of reach, while still being usable by your clients.
- 1) Never use “mailto” links in your code. This is almost always the first thing that bots look for in your website. If you must use mailto links, use an email address that you don’t “care” about. This will give you the option of changing it at a later date if you start to receive a lot of spam messages.
- 2) Avoid putting your email in plain text. For example, don’t list your email on the website in a normal format. If you must post it on a public website, try to obfuscate it in a way where a human could still read it, but bots can’t. For example, you could use “john AT example DOT com”. However, most decent bots are still able to read and capture this email address. Because of this be creative and change things up.
- 3) When possible, check the settings of any site you register for (including sites like Facebook, Twitter, Forums, etc.) and ensure that any email related privacy settings are configured in a way where your email is not publicly listed.
Below we are going to list some options that may be helpful to hide your email address.
- 1) Pictures/Images can be used in place of actual plan text. The only downside to this is the end user would have to type your email address rather than copying and pasting it into their email client.
- 2) reCAPTCHA is a tool that requires you to enter a code before you are allowed to read the email address. It is free and normally very easy to add to your website.
- 3) The best way to keep your email private while still allowing people to contact you is an email contact form. These forms use php (or another web programming language) to allow a person to fill out a form on your website and then having the form contents sent to your email. Because all of this happens behind the scenes, your email is never exposed to the public until you reply to them.
Enable Spam Assassin and the Auto-Delete feature. - In your cPanel, you will find "Spam Assassin" or "Apache Spam Assassin" under the Email Account section. Please enable this. You will also find an "Auto-delete" feature on the same screen. Enabling Auto-delete under a certain threshold will make sure incoming spam is auto-deleted and does not make it to your inbox. (1 is strongest, and 10 is the weakest filter - Shoppe Pro recommends a setting of 1, as this will block the most spam). This will also make sure that the incoming spam email does not bounce or get forwarded to an outside email account if you have enabled email forwarders, putting our server IP at risk for becoming blacklisted by the RBLs.