Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

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Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

Postby Kit on Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:44 pm

I recently talked to my readers about guarding their email addresses. Did you learn about spambots harvesting emails the hard way? How do you protect your email from being collected by spammers?
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Re: Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

Postby LorettaOliver on Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:05 pm

Oh, good subject. I think a lot of times when we're making new pages or new sites we forget about the rotten old spam bots. I know I've forgotten a few times and ended up having problems to remind me.
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Re: Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

Postby KellyM on Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:33 am

What problems happen? Did you just get a ton of spam in your inbox?
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Re: Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

Postby Kit on Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:48 am

One of the probs is spam takes up the space that is reserved for customers and clients. Clients emails can get lost in the chaos and that is not good. One of the main problems is that spam isn't the only thing that comes through. Some of these spammers intentionally include a virus.

In short, mass amounts of spam can bring a business to a grinding halt and/or cause business owners to pay for extra email space or even for someone to delete the spam on a daily basis.
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Re: Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

Postby LorettaOliver on Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:12 am

I had to pay for the extra space one time, it was not a pleasant day when I got that bill. Stupid spam costing us money and frustration.
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Re: Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

Postby lindastacy on Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:04 pm

And don't forget.. there's a fine line between protecting yourself and making it impossible for your customers and business associates to contact you.

When I first started online I had never heard of a spambot, so in the beginning I definitely learned the hard way. Now I have a pretty good system in place and it's easy for me to deal with the little bit of spam I get.

1 - For the most part, I don't publish my email address on my sites; I use contact forms instead. If I need to publish an email address I disguise it (there are several methods for doing this).

Many new website owners don't realize that spambots harvest from the HTML code, not the visible text. Some contact forms contain the email address in the HTML so that does no good. Also, when selecting a contact form script, research its security. Insecure scripts can be used by spammers to send email.

2 - I use "throw away" email addresses to register for message boards and each forum has it's own email address. If I start getting a lot of spam on one of the email addresses I know where it's coming from and I simply change my email address in my forum profile and delete the old email address from my mail server account.

3 - I don't use any catch all email addresses on my domains.

4 - I use a good spam filter on my email (but one that doesn't automatically delete anything so I always have the final say in whether or not something is spam).

5 - I keep my personal email address completely separate from my business email addresses (mainly just to have one email address that only my friends know and is not likely to get spammed).

Oh... and I never forward those mass email messages with hundreds of email addresses showing (you know the jokes and "thinking of you" and "warning" emails you get from well-meaning friends). They can end up in the hands of spammers and then everyone gets on a list.

Gosh... I know more than I ever wanted to know about spam email. :lol:
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Re: Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

Postby Kit on Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:53 am

Great points, Linda! Thanks for adding your thoughts and experience.
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Re: Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

Postby LorettaOliver on Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:10 pm

That was a great email protection review Linda! And a good reminder for everyone that might be working on their websites in the new year, and putting up new sites. We get so into to just *doing* things that we tend to forget to take those extra little steps to make sure we're doing things the best way we can. I know I'm guilty of doing just that sometimes.
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Re: Learning About Spambots The Hard Way

Postby Mel on Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:52 am

Great tips Linda. I learned the hard way too but it only took once for me to start implementing things to help control the spam.

Something I do for my business is have two email addys; one for my contact form and a second for clients. When new inquires come through the form and the potential client and I are talking, I always use the address that the contact form uses. Then, once the person signs on as a client, I give them a different email address to use for communication. This helps ensure that client mail is top priority and it isn't accidentally deleted when dumping spam.
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