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Hey, web peeps

Probably I'm not searching on the correct terms, because I'm not coming up with anything that leads to what I'm thinking of. I've been working on my freelance professional web site, and I have a couple places with a mailto link so people can send mail if they want more info. I seem to remember that there's some piece of code or a word or something that I can add to keep spammers from grabbing the address... but now I'm wondering if I remember that correctly. I don't want to prevent robots for the overall site, because that seems like it'd defeat the purpose of having a professional web site to possibly lure clients. But maybe robots and spiders is the right prevention tool?

Does this ring a bell for anyone in the web arena?


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Aug. 2nd, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Is something like this what you are looking for?
Aug. 2nd, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
Yes, obfuscation. I never would have remembered that term. Sounds like, though, it's more than what I need or can handle with my limited understanding of web work. Just doing this site with a free template and Dreamweaver has been a days-long nightmare. I am so not a techie.
Aug. 2nd, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
Obfuscation works... sometimes (although the most common forms are long since cracked). It's generally considered a better practice to use a contact form instead: webmail users and people on public computers are able to use them, it's more seamless for users to handle everything in the browser without launching a separate email program, and if you're so inclined, you can more easily log your contacts with them, set up autoreplies, set up newsletter subscriptions, or whatever you want (or may want to do later).

There are a ton of free/open source email forms out there, including (probably) something built in to your hosting plan.
Aug. 2nd, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
After reading the article tavella linked to, I can see that the obfuscation thing may not really be what I can handle. I'm really way too basic a user to completely even grok that.

I think if I expected to get even maybe one hit off this site in the next five years, your suggestion would make the most sense. But I honestly think this is more for sending people I make contact with in other ways to a place they can see some of my past work; I truly don't expect anybody to be looking for an editor and find my page will sell them on me! But maybe, if I do a blog like you mention, at some point in the future, that would be a good idea.
Aug. 2nd, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
Instead of using a mailto link in each of those places, I highly recommend using a link to a contact page. Then, on the contact page, have a contact form, your email address, and (if applicable) a mailing address and phone number.

As far as the format for listing your email address, most robots/spiders don't read JavaScript, so that's usually the way that they're obfuscated. I don't know which methods have been cracked, and which haven't, but if you do use that method of obfuscation (or choose to display it in an image), you may also want to ensure that there's a description of your email address in text. (Something like, "you can reach me by email using my first name at this domain".)
Aug. 2nd, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
Yeah, I guess it looks like obfuscation isn't necessarily something I can really grasp doing in a way that doesn't make it inconvenient. Honestly, I don't think this is ever going to generate much in the way of work. I think if I get one bite in the next five years, I'd be lucky. So I guess I'll just accept the spam, it's not like they have already gotten the address anyway. I think it was only two days I had the site before I started getting spam to my new work address. Geez. Used to be in the olden days you could at least go a month or so without it.
Aug. 2nd, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)
Yes, you actually want to use a contact form, and I suggest using a perl script: there are a lot of contact form scripts of all types freely available which are very secure, but I can recommend tfmail, available from nms here:
Aug. 2nd, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
For the record, the anonymous comment above is *not* from me.

If obfuscation or adding a form seems too hard, I still recommend not typing out your email address, not using mailto links, and writing out a description of it instead.

But definitely, do make a contact page.

Good luck :)
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