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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Here Comes the SPAM... by Irina ----------------...

Posted: 2005-09-21T00:40:16Z


Here Comes the SPAM... by Irina

TITLE: Here Comes the SPAM...
LENGTH: 703 words
FORMAT: 59 characters per line
--------------------------CUT HERE-------------------------

Here Comes the SPAM...

By Irina

The author grants permission to publish this article, in
its entirety, electronically or in print, as long as the
bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication
(or, at least, an e-mail notification) sent to will be appreciated.

I exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet. My weight
is right on the money. So every invitation "to loose 30
pounds in 20 days" insults more than just my intelligence
and literary taste. Yet until now I managed to treat
Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) or simply SPAM as a
nuisance that wastes my time and resources, but does not
represent a serious problem. Not any more!

The message that changed my attitude looked rather
"Hello [fname],
I am so-and-so. You are receiving this message because I
saw your online business site..." The next day I got
another similar message from different so-and-so. Soon, the
number escalated to a dozen a day. Very disturbing was also
the fact that the messages were arriving to my "strictly
business" email addresses reserved exclusively for my
customers and business partners. A little research quickly
revealed the name of my new enemy - Spam Bot.

Spam Bot is much like a search engine spider. Twenty-four
hours a day, seven days a week it crawls from page to page
looking for email addresses. Even single Spam Bot is able
to quickly produce huge list of addresses (only addresses -
that's why they called me [fname]!) which are used to send
SPAM. Unfortunately, there are many of them... Another
problem is that being extremely easy to generate and thus
very cheap, these lists are sold and re-sold over and over
again to nave (obtuse?) "netrepreneurs".

Looks like a serious self-perpetuating problem for anyone
with business email address posted on the Internet. Is
there a solution? Well, yes - you can completely eliminate
this type of SPAM by making your email address
unrecognizable for Spam Bots. Here are several possible

1. Use the FORM MAIL whenever possible. This not only
conceals your email address, but also makes it easier for
real visitors to contact you. Here is a working example:
Anyone can email me a question by typing it in the window
right on my page and hitting the "Submit Query" button. Yet
the address itself is hidden from my human visitors as well
as Spam Bots.

2. Replace your "mailto:" link with an IMAGE of your email
address. To see an example go to rafficy/links.html
Feel free to examine the HTML code of the page by right-
clicking anywhere in the window and then scrolling to "View
source" in the drop-down menu. Instead of my email address
you (and Uncle Spam Bot as well!) will only see a link to
"emaddress.gif". In this case additional security brings
about some inconvenience - the address is not "clickable"
and thus one has to memorize it or write it down. This
slight disadvantage is circumvented in the next approach.

3. Replace several REAL characters in your email address
with so-called SPECIAL characters. These special characters
always begin with "&" and end with ";". Whatever is in
between determines how the browser will interpret that
particular special character. For example, typing "&" "#"
"6" "4" ";" (without quotation marks and spaces) is
equivalent to using the real character "@".

If you are skeptical that this replacement alone is enough
to fool the Spam Bot (that, by the way, makes two of us) -
proceed with replacing other characters in your email
address. Here is your cheat-sheet to substitute all
vowels: a=#97, e=#101, i=#105, o=#111 and u=#117. Remember
to start every special character with "&" and end with ";".
You can see how it works by going to

My human visitors can see and click on my email address by
using "Click here to get my email address" link. When
viewing the code of the little window, you will not find
the address in an explicit form - just a long string of
special characters with some letters in between. This
(hopefully!) is enough to confuse Spam Bots visiting my

We will never be able to totally eliminate SPAM that seems
to come with the cyberspace "territory". Yet I should feel
just a little better if the above suggestions at least
partially shield your inbox from unwelcome (and often very
badly phrased) offers to consolidate the debts you don't
have or safely enlarge a part of your body that... well,
you do not have either.

Copyright (C) by Irina 2003.

About the Author:
Irina helps people save on healthcare and create steady
stream of residual income working from home

About the Author
Irina helps people save on healthcare and create steady
stream of residual income working from home


Blogger Tinwa said...

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Come and check it out if you get time :-)

3:52 AM


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