How To Protect From Email Address Harvesting

Email Image

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. Spammers use various method in harvesting the email address. One of the common method is the use of special software known as "harvesting bots" or "harvesters", which spider webpages to obtain email addresses from public data.

When you place contact email address in plain text on your website, it has a high chance that your email will be harvested by spam bots. Let’s see what the solution is.

Anti-harvesting methods

There are many methods to use for protecting your contact email address from harvesting such as image email address, contact forms, address munging, JavaScript obfuscation, HTML obfuscation and CAPTCHA. You can choose one based on your own preference. Here are the most popular three:

Images Email Address

Turning your email address into an image is a very effective harvesting countermeasure. The processing required to automatically extract text from images is not economically viable for spammers. It is very inconvenient for users, who must manually launch their email client and transcribe the address.

Contact Forms

Email contact forms which send an email but do not reveal the recipient's address avoid publishing an email address in the first place. A drawback is that this method prevents users from composing in their preferred client and limits message content to plain text.

Address Munging

Address munging is common technique to make harvesting email addresses more difficult by changing the email address writing format. For example: changing "johnsmith@example.com" to "johnsmith at example dot com”. It is still an effective way but the bad thing is somewhat inconvenient to users, who must examine the address and manually correct it.