Email encryption for the web

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At Pittsburgh’s Web Analytics Wednesday, I told the story of this post whereby I mistook someone’s email address for an alternative website address. Dan Halpern of Duquesne University said, “Why do people circumvent the bots with ‘myname at gmail.com’ text, when they can just encrypt their email address?” He then sent me a link to this email encoder site. (It looks like there are a lot of encoders out there, just type in spambot encoder.)

I tried it and it works (but I don’t know if bots caught onto this one long ago.) Here’s what this particular encoder says about themselves:

This form will allow you to encode your e-mail address through the use of Character Entities, transforming your ascii email address into its equivalent decimal entity. Simply enter your regular e-mail address in the first text box, click the encode button, and then highlight and copy the resulting code produced in the second text box. This encoded e-mail address can be read and translated back into its original ascii text by almost any web browser without any further action on your part. Just replace all instances of your e-mail address on your pages with the code, and you won’t have to worry about spam lists.

Robbin Steif
LunaMetrics

Our owner and CEO, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics twelve years ago. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a recent Diamond Award for business leadership. You should read her letter before you decide to work with us.

  • Ohad Gliksman

    Wow,
    this is a really neat solution to communicating with my readers without being spammed to death.
    The method used to do this in URL encoding. Can I repost this on my site as well (with credits)?

  • Ohad Gliksman

    Sorry,
    Forgot to mention my website’s address which is: http://ohad-news.blogspot.com

  • http://www.lunametrics.com/blog LunaMetrics Blog

    Sure, you can copy the whole thing as long as you link to my site in the post. (I probably should get a Creative Commons license but I need to do today’s post. And do real work. And call my mother.)

    Robbin

  • Nico

    Why not just replace *one* character with its respective encoding?
    That keeps the code small and readable while still ensuring most spambots cannot use the address.

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone seen any testing/research to see if this method is currently ignored by spam harvesters? The key word being currently.

    My concern is that to decode this obsfuction is a one liner in perl, so it’s not exactly hard for the spam harvesters to “break”.

    I’d also be a bit leery of the sites providing the obsfuction service – they may be spam harvesters themselves.
    But then I’ve always been a cynical, paranoid type. 😉

    Steve

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