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Public email address


Simon
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May I ask for your advice.

My company wants to put my email address onto it's web page as a contact point.

I'm trying to argue that this is a bad idea because:-

a) There are 'bots' (or electronic robots) that trawl the web pages on the internet picking up email addresses and the end result is that I will receive thousands of spam emails.

b.) They should use another email address for enquiries from the public

Q1. Am I right?

Q2. Is there a better way way of putting it?

Q3. Are there any other/better reasons?

Q4. What could/should they do?

Many thanks

Simon

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The best way to post an email address on the web is to use an alias address that can be forwarded to your real address.

This serves several functions:

A unique address can be used in each situation.

If spam becomes to big of a problem the alias address can be changed without any negative impact on your real address.

It makes it easier to fight spam as it is possible to indicate the only source of the address as being posted in a single web site for a specific purpose. Any other use of that address can clearly be shown as spamming.

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Q1. Am I right?

Q2. Is there a better way way of putting it?

Q3. Are there any other/better reasons?

Q4. What could/should they do?

You can hide an email address from spambots by obfuscating

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~trw/spam/spam4.htm

And/Or you can use a webform for contact (with a alphanumeric "GIF" to get to it

Then use best spam Protection. Perhaps consider the ins and outs of Greylisting/Graylisting

Basically if on a blocklist such as SCBL a reject notice (450 "try again") is sent to server and server will automatically try again. Spammers do not use email servers nor read/get reject "try again" messages and a greylisting slows down, if not halts their delivery of spam (which already spew for hours and hours if not days)

Edited by petzl
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b.) They should use another email address for enquiries from the public

This suggests a possible lever for you to use with them if you don't want to go into the spam issues. Many companies use "generic" or "role" addresses for public contacts -- e.g., "sales[at]", "customer-service[at]", "support[at]" and so forth. People generally expect to see these sorts of addresses at business websites, and such addresses have the further benefit that they can be redirected from one person's inbox to another's when the need arises (i.e., if someone changes jobs), or these can even be directed to a group of recipients. Also, an address like "service[at]foo.fum" will just look more professional than "big.steve[at]foo.fum"

If your folks think that these kinds of addresses seem rather impersonal or corporate, you can point out that any subsequent mailings from you can be made from a personal address -- that is, I make a request to "support[at]" but you can answer my mail from "simon[at]"

If they insist on posting e-mail addresses in the clear, then they should at least consider some relatively easy and effective means for preventing their harvesting. See my own website at http://www.rickconner.net/spamweb/avoiding.html for some further tips (the java scri_pt trick seems to have worked well for me for several years).

-- rick

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