6 Ways to Stop Getting Spammed

The easiest way to communicate with web site visitors is via email. The easiest way for spammers to acquire email addresses is by finding them on web sites. Here are some solutions to keep your email address away from spammers while allowing legitimate users to contact you.

1. MailHide

It’s part of reCAPTCHA.net and requires no login. Just enter your email address and it shows the code to display the CAPTCHA.

Advantages are that users can click on your email address without having to type their name or email address once they’ve entered the correct code. This means the from address will be correct. Disadvantages are that spammers can still acquire your email address manually.

Example: Email me

2. Contactify

You can embed a contact form on your site or use a link that goes to the contact form.

The plus side is spammers never know your email address. Negative is that every user has to enter their name and email address. If there’s a typo in the return address, you can’t reply.

Example: Email me

3. Corlive

Presents itself as an alternative to email. They give you a Corlive link that sends users’ messages to a private RSS feed. They’re fighting a steep, uphill battle trying to convince people to leave their email clients. However, if you’re comfortable using RSS, it can dramatically reduce the spam you get.

Example: Email me

4. LiquidID

This an OpenID provider that also provides email aliases. You create an email alias for each site you deal with and if one of them starts getting spammed you can disable it.

I did this with my own domain (hersam.com) a few years ago and created several hundred email aliases. The problem is I don’t go searching through my spam to see what email addresses were getting spammed. Gmail’s spam filtering is good enough that I switched to a single email address again.

Example: Email me

5. Generated image

This form converts your email address into an image.

Spammers can see your email address manually, but web crawlers won’t be able to (at least until they become better at image recognition). Users have to manually type in your email address, so typos are likely to occur. (Note: That’s not a real email address)

Example: Email address image

6. AKA Post

This is a novel solution to keep your email private even when you reply from your email client. In the above solutions the recipient will know your email address once you reply. Not so with AKA Post. It does require a bit more effort to use because you have to append “akapost.com” to the end of everyone’s email address. This makes all your emails go through AKA post’s mail server. They then strip off their domain and pass the email along. The SMTP protocol was built so you can send emails to lots of domains and each mail server just strips off its own domain and hands it along. It’s not a commonly used feature nowadays.

This is the only service I know of that will keep your email address private throughout all email correspondence, assuming you use their domain on every outgoing email. Of course that very requirement is the negative. Every email has to go through their mail servers. You also have to remember to append their domain to the email address every time you respond.

The solution I’ve chosen to go with is the CAPTCHA. It avoids the problems of invalid email addresses and is easy for visitors to use.


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  1. Good variety of solutions.

    I use a few lines of JavaScript code generated by a form I filled out at Syronex. It hides my e-mail address by encoding it then generates a mailto: so the sender uses their own e-mail program. I works for me.


    Comment by KanyonKris on January 17, 2009 @ 8:29 am
  2. Cool, that looks like yet another good solution.

    Comment by Dan on January 19, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

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