July 27, 2003

j**NOSPAM**burke@

A number hidden in a JPGPeople jump through all sorts of hoops to prevent spammers from getting their email address. Currently, my spam filters are working so well that I hardly see spam at all anymore. It's a huge relief. On the Mac, this is because I use OS X's built in mail which does a great job on its own. On my PC I use POPFile. Plus, my much-compromised university email address now has SpamHunter working for it. That alone is doing an excellent job.

But I was doing a "whois" search the other day and was asked to verify I was a human by entering a numeric code in a form. The code was displayed in a JPEG. I was wondering... why not do the same thing for personal email addresses displayed on your website? Even if you use an address that you expect to get spam in, you can cut down on the amount of spam by displaying the address in a graphic.

Unfortunately, that's only useful for display.

As I redesign my site, I'm putting in an email form so that websurfers can contact me without knowing my email address. That's a good method for folks that have their own website, and a lot of people use it. Of course, friends already have your email, and once a new friend contacts you, you can send her your email with your reply.

Posted by James at July 27, 2003 2:00 PM
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Since I have my own mail server, I've been running bogofilter on it with good results.

Enkoder from Hiveware (http://www.hiveware.com/products.php) is a decent alternative for putting your email address on the web without making it easy for spammers to get at.

Posted by: Jim Correia at July 27, 2003 8:47 PM

Hiveware's Enkoder looks cool.

And they have a webform, if you don't want to download the app:
http://www.hiveware.com/enkoder_form.php

Nifty!

Posted by: JP at July 27, 2003 10:21 PM

I'm turning off the switch that requires an email address on the comments.

Posted by: JP at July 27, 2003 10:25 PM

Thanks James. I think MT only shows the email address anyway if you don't provide a URL, but having it off may help...

Posted by: Jim Correia at July 27, 2003 11:54 PM

It's nice for me to have the address for ease of replying, but it's silly for me to require it when, for the most part, I know who is leaving the comments. And I already have your email addresses!

So it's still there as an option, but the CGI ignores it if it is blank. Much better than forcing people to fake an email address. That's just silly.

Posted by: JP at July 28, 2003 12:13 AM

I don't have my own mailserver but I use K9 (which is like PopFile I think) to filter off spam, and I also use RegisterSite to create new/temporary email addresses so that I can avoid getting spammed to death.

Posted by: Chuck S. at July 28, 2003 1:21 PM

BTW... Is there a good reason why I am not allowed to resize the Comment window? Is there a way to turn that 'feature' off?

Posted by: Chuck S. at July 28, 2003 1:23 PM

Partly it's your browser -- Safari allows me to resize but IE doesn't.

But, you're right, that is annoying. I'll look in the MT templates later and try to find it. It may be in the MT code.

Posted by: JP at July 28, 2003 2:42 PM

I assume you ran into this while helping me out finding a new URL for my blog, yes? They employed the same Turing-test-ish validation for MLB All Star voting. I appreciated your suggestions, make sure to check my site tomorrow to vote for the final URL.

And since we are geographically close: have you checked out www.snebloggers.com yet? Go!

Posted by: Bil at July 30, 2003 3:36 PM

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