Radar Hill Blog

Displaying email addresses on websites: how to battle spam

3-D @ symbolAt Radar Hill, we wage the ongoing battle against spam. Displaying email addresses on websites is one way. Help us to test.

Recent studies have shown that converting email addresses to decimal ASCII characters is no longer an effective way to stop spam bots. That is the current way we do it. To test new ways, we made a page with a few different methods we might want to use. Most of these methods are pretty effective, but do not allow for mailto links (generally) or easy copy/pasting. One question is whether it’s more important to have a mailto link for usability, or to stop spam harvesters. We’ve put the options that do allow for mailto links at the top.

Other solutions include using forms and using JavaScript to encrypt. Both of these methods would be much more effective than any of the options below, but come with usability issues:

  • Some people don’t like filling out forms.
  • Users who browse without JavaScript.

We need not restrict ourselves to one method. Some clients may only want a contact form, for example.

We have set up a test page at: www.radarhill.com/email_test.php

There are ten different methods on the page. All use the email address of person@example.com

Feel free to take a look and let us know what ones you like or dislike. Please tell us:

  • If your browser or screen reader is able to read the email address.
  • If you would be able to send an email to that address.

For example in #10, I can see person@example.com but I cannot click on it to send an email, and if I select it, copy and paste it into my email program, it comes out backwards.

We are also getting feedback from Lois Lawrie who uses a screen reader and whose services we engage to test our websites.

Thanks in advance for your participation in our experiment.

About Shawn

Co-owner and one of the founders of Radar Hill, Shawn is an award-winning public speaker who publishes our newsletters and organizes our monthly workshops. He loves working with business owners, and tries to keep up with marketing trends.

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