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    Posting your e-mail address on your site: a security primer
    Posted: 2012-01-25 06:55:36


    E-mail is a great way to make ourselves as available as possible to current and potential clients. Yet the spam that inevitably ends up in our inboxes gives us second thoughts about giving out our email addresses.

    You can take advantage of e-mail's convenience without leaving yourself open to hundreds of messages advertising watches, drugs and unmentionables. Below, we've got some tips on what to do and what not to do to make your email address more secure.

    What you can do:

    1. Form email: most firms have form email. Instead of giving an email address, a site will allow users to send an email directly from a form on the webpage. The form has the fields of sender's name, sender's email address, subject and content. You might want to supplement this with a CAPTCHA, which helps make sure that only human beings (and not automated spamming programs) can use your email form.

    2. Turn email address into an image: this keeps your email address visible to users but practically invisible to Google and spammers' web scrapers (which extract email addresses from web pages). Bear in mind that screen readers (used by people with low vision to access web pages) cannot read images. Going on this route presents a tradeoff between security and accessibility.

    What not to do:

    1. Put your email in the format {user at domain dot com}: web scrapers can find these ones easily. Besides, posting your e-mail address in its original form is more secure. According to Chris Varenhorst, {user at domain dot com} can be indexed by Google's search engine, making it much easier for web scrapers to find it. {user@domain.com} cannot be indexed by Google, because it contains a 'special' character.

    2. Post it indiscriminately: If you're a member of an online forum, make sure that your email address doesn't appear in your member profile. Keep it off of Facebook and Twitter. The fewer times it appears on the World Wide Web, the less likely spammers are to find it.

    Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal advice.