The Email Address Harvest

Fall is here and pumpkins and squash are not the only things that are in line for a harvest! If your email address has been published on your website you may already be experiencing the downside of spam, spam and more spam!

Just last week my husband had mentioned that his employer is getting a ton of spam in their email, and they cannot figure out where it is all coming from. They had just recently published a new website replacing their old one, and that was when they began to notice a significant amount of spam. I knew right away what the answer most likely was and checked their website. Yep, sure enough their email was a prime target for a feeding frenzy by harvest hungry spam bots scraping up their newest meal off the Internet -and your email address could be next!

Only a week before this I was posting an answer to a fellows question in a forum. He had requested to have others take a look at his new directory and was wondering how it looked and if anyone would suggest any changes. First thing I noticed was his email address in the footer, which is fine for the human eye, but was it protected from the spam bots? Researching it further, no it wasn't!

In my post back to the fellow I suggested he consider protecting his email address from the spam bots. His response was one of shock! He first of all had no idea there was any such thing as spam robots who scrape and harvest emails off websites. He then stated he had three other websites with his email address posted on them, and never could figure out why he had so much spam! Well, there you have it! Many people do not realize their email addresses can be harvested from a website, forum, or even from your emails itself.

When we are at a greater risk for receiving spam, we are even more vulnerable to having our personal information compromised with malicious codes contained within the emails, viruses and other adware, so protecting your email address on your website is very important.

If you haven't already done so you will want to make your email address invisible to the spam bots so they can't move into your site for the harvest. There is a very easy tool you can use to quickly determine if your email address can be harvested from your website. With this tool, you simply write in the exact url where you know your email address is located, and send a robot to find your email address. When you run the test, make sure you use the exact and correct url. In other words if your contact information is on abc.com/contact make sure you use that specific url in your test, not just your home page at abc.com.

When you conduct the test, if the robot successfully retrieves your email address, then your email address is a prime target for the spammers who send out their robots to do their dirty work. Next thing you know you are receiving tons of spam, and it multiplies, and seems to breed to an overwhelming number each day! Here's the tool to test your website for email scrapping.

Now that you used the tool, if you discover your email address is not protected, then you need to know how to do that! One way you can stop most of the robots is by using a script to protect your email address. Your human friends will still be able to read the email address, but the robots will no longer be able to sniff out a harvest from your website. Although it sometimes is not a 100% effective solution, it will save you significant time from searching through junk mail.

© November 2006 Author: Tammara Nelson
Copying, Publishing, or Re-Creating Article is Prohibited and a Violation of Copyright Laws

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