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I want a website, but I don’t want spam!

Written By: Dianne Reuby

Question: If I start a web site, won’t I get loads of spam?

Answer: Yes. But there are ways of cutting it down.

1. Hide your email address so it can’t be “harvested” by
spam robots. You can do this simply by replacing the @
symbol with the special Unicode symbol @ Browsers will
display it as normal. Robots that search the web for e-mail
addresses won’t be able to recognise it as an e-mail
address. Robots are getting more sophisticated – I “cloak”
or hide my complete address on every web page. Email
Scramble is an easy-to-use program that will produce the
code for you, ready to paste into your web page. Read more
details at
http://www.firstwebbuilder.co.uk/info/escramble.html

2. Set up filters in your email program. I KNOW I don’t want
a mortgage or a new credit card, as well as less pleasant
offerings, so I filter any messages containing those words
straight into my Trash. Check your email program’s help file
for instructions on how to filter out messages that you know
you don’t want.

3. If you get persistent spam from one source, send a copy
of the message to their email provider. Look at the “From”
address, and note what comes after the “@”. If you address
it to “abuse@” and the name you noted, with a short
description of the problem, they may be able to close the
account. But many spammers are using hidden and re-
directed accounts, so that the account name which actually
appears is nothing to do with them!

4. DON’T use your personal email address on your web site.If
you have a domain name, or paid hosting, you’re almost
certain to get e-mail addresses in the package. If you use
free hosting, many now provide an e-mail address to go with
your web site. If not, sign up for a web-based mail address.

5. DON’T use the “Reply to this email to be removed” link in
spam e-mail – all that does is tell them that your email
address is real! You could try a “bounce” program that sends
a false “bounce” (invalid email address) message – you’ll
find some at http://www.webattack.com

About the Author

Dianne Reuby is co-author of the e-book “First Website
Builder”. Dianne created and runs the First Web Builder
site, dedicated to providing ebooks and tips for new
webmasters.
Visit FWB at http://firstwebbuilder.co.uk/
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