Why Hide Your Email Address From Web Spiders?

A web spider is one spider you do NOT want getting into your website and harvesting your email addresses. Web spiders are simply scripts created to collect as many email addresses as possible in order to spam Internet users with advertising.

Following, are methods to hide your email address from web spiders and still have it accessible to your website’s human visitors.

Protect Your Email Address!

Many users wonder how their email address got onto so many lists, and why they’re bombarded with so many offers for such things like university diplomas, and/or giant blueberries.

Often times, the offender is a web spidering software that ignores web standards and goes out over the Internet collecting email addresses from any website available… whether proper measures were taken by the web designers and webmasters or not.

These spiders search the Internet until they’ve accumulated a fixed number of email addresses, at which time they crawl back to their sinful master’s web with a list of victims to spam.

laptop with spider on the monitor and a magnifying glass overtop the spider

You don’t have to be a web spider victim!

1.) You can confuse the spiders by simply using HTML characters where possible. This is the simplest way to foil the web spiders, yet the easiest method for the spiders to notice and compensate for;  you can use the following characters @ instead of the @ symbol in your email address. Also, you can use . instead of a period.

In other words use:
<a href=”mailto:username&#64;domain&#46;com”>Email me</a>

Since HTML coding doesn’t look like a proper email address, the web spider most likely will ignore your email address and collect a less suspecting webmaster’s email address instead.

NOTE: Using this method could cost your HTML to not validate.

2.) JavaScript might be a lot safer method to use in hiding your email address from web spidering software.

Here’s a Google search result page offering links to sites with details on how to use JavaScript to parse your email address.

NOTE: Be aware, there are issues with using JavaScript in hiding your email address from web spiders.

3.) Though it can be intimidating to many novice webmasters, installing CGI script is a fool-proof method of thwarting web spiders from harvesting your email address.

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Many web hosts offer a set of common CGI scripts for their customers. If not you can search the Internet for free CGI form processing scripts. However, you need to understand; it is safest to use remotely hosted CGI script, so be sure to ask your host before doing anything with CGI.

4.) For those using WordPress, you could use a plugin to do this for you. Email Address Encoder by Till Krüss is the plugin that I use whenever I need this, as it automatically protects email addresses site wide and all without special coding. Simply install and activate it and your email addresses site wide are protect.

Or you could use Email Encoder – Protect Email Addresses by Ironikus. Whichever plugin you choose, just be sure to protect your email addresses.

5.) And… then there’s MY favourite method for web pages, HTML version linked here… though, like option one, this too can be compromised with tweaking of the web spiders.

Dishonest email marketers who use web spiders to harvest millions of email addresses in order to send out bulk email to disinterested, unsuspecting Internet users are the real issue. They waste everyone’s valuable time by clogging up our email systems, slowing EVER transaction down.

By hiding your email address from these web spiders it helps you to be able to reply to your customer’s questions promptly, without wasting your time sorting through junk email.

Is Your Email Address Losing You Business?

an AT symbol

Did you know that your email address may be costing you lost business? I advise all business owners to adopt a professional sounding email address. If you prefer to have that address forwarded to the email address you’re using right now, so be it. The email address you use on your website, business cards, flyers, etc, says a lot about your business.

Once upon a time, it was acceptable to have ANY email address on your business card because not everyone had an email address. Those days are long gone. In order to make a good first impression you need to be using a professional email address.

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If you already have your own domain name for your business, it’s easy to have a professional address setup for you to use. Watch the video at the bottom, to see how you can do this yourself from your cPanel access.

Many of the free email addresses available do not give a good impression of your business nor are they easy for your customers (or potential customers) to remember.

It’s amazing to discover that even today; many business owners have still not realized how important their email communications are to their business. Your email address may be more important to your image than a logo, letterhead, or business card collectively!

Example: Sales@OshawaDecorators.ca… as opposed to… OshawaDecorators@hotmail.com… or even… OshawaDecorators@sympatico.ca…and , though sympatico.ca is NOT a free email address, it’s still not domain specific, as in YOUR domain, as sympatico belongs to Bell Telephone.

Obviously, if OshawaDecorators.ca is YOUR domain name, than Sales@OshawaDecorators.ca is a more appropriate and trustworthy email address for your customers to use.

This may also work to inspire your website visitors to contact you… and perhaps even purchase from you… as opposed to the other two email addresses shown in the example above.

Having an email address on your own domain not only looks more professional but it’s great advertisement for you website too. Your domain name will then be attached to EVERY email you issue. This is a very inexpensive way to market your business!

Your email address is an extension of your online presence, so it should not be surprising to discover that potential customers expect a professional business website to be represented by a domain name specific email address.

Another option … How to Use Your Domain with Gmail

Be sure YOU look professional!

Why Your Email Address is Still Important

envelope with an at sign coming out of it

One of the least expensive and easiest ways to promote your business website is through your email address. Instead of advertising for your internet service provider (examples: hotmail.com, and yahoo.com) on your business cards, you could be advertising your domain name.

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When selecting a hosting account, you should have the ability to create a professional email address for yourself and/or anyone working for your business. You could even have your email forwarded to one account …or use auto-responders if you want.

Next, make sure that every time you send out an email that you include your domain name.

Using an email address from your website also reinforces the impression that you are serious about your business. Owning a domain name and a website gives your business a more polished and professional image. Today customers expect businesses will have a website where they can find out more about you, and an email address they can use to contact you with.

Conceivably and more importantly, a professional email address will help promote a sense of trust in you and your business.

At the end of all your outgoing email messages, always include your name, business name, business address and telephone number …and, of course, a link to your business website. You could also include a disclaimer if your business communications are to be kept confidential, or perhaps include other information like your social media links …or a link directly to your blog. The point is to make it as easy as possible for your customers and potential customers to be able to find and use your contact information.

Below is an 7:22 minute video on how to create an email signature that looks great!

Credit for Header: image by Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK – The best place to hide 14 December 2012, 18:59


Website Designer for Parr's Publishing. As a full certified Internet Specialist, I help business owners and organizations increase their profits by providing them with a fully managed, custom designed website as well as basic Search Engine Optimization.

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