Spammers thrive on being able to harvest emails from unwitting participants in Web 2.0’s dialogue. One of the biggest and best sources for this is blogs where both bloggers and those commenting on their entries make the mistake of posting email addresses without taking precautions, and it’s important that bloggers know how to keep spammers from harvesting emails from their sites – both for their protection, and that of the readers who are leaving comments on your pages.
One simple way of preventing spammers from getting your website is by posting your email graphically, rather than by using text. You can also try to use a spam filter, or scripts that prevent spammer’s email-harvesting bots from noticing your page, although these have varying degrees of success depending on the sophistication of the spammer in question.
If your blog is located on a site like wordpress, livejournal, or blogger, you have the option of protecting your updates so they can be seen only by those you allow, or by those who are also members of the site. This can have the unintended result of limiting your readership, although new sites such as Dreamwidth are supposedly offering aggregations of other sites in an attempt to allow cross-posting to scale new heights.
When commenting on blogs and forums, one technique a number of web surfers have used to try and protect their email addresses from being harvested by spammers is by inserting random punctuation into their email addresses, breaking the address up with spaces, or spelling out certain punctuation marks which are included in their email; for example, instead of writing firstname.lastname@example.org, someone might write their email address as “ess pee eh em aytch eh why tee eee are at” …and so on, or spamhater/at/spamhater/dot/com. This method can work, if your readers and the others commenting on your blog or forum have the patience to decipher those characters then retype them, but it can be a killer for communications if they a) miss the point or pronunciation you’ve used or b) can’t be bothered to retype the address. Plus, using uniform punctuation as in the “/” example above isn’t all that tough for spammers to program their bots around, and so its effectiveness is limited.
No method for protecting your blog from spammers is going to be a hundred percent foolproof, but by even attempting to make it harder for spammers to read addresses off your site, you help make it harder for crime syndicates who run spam rings to find more unwitting victims for their next ploy. That, more than anything else, makes the attempt to safeguard your blog from email harvesting spammers worth the extra effort.