Have you ever received an unsolicited e-mail invitation to earn thousands of dollars a month in only an hour or two a week? If you are like many, not only do you get those, but you get e-mail of a nature worse than that also. Did you know that a prime location for those who send you unsolicited e-mail to get your e-mail address is from your web site? Maybe you have a personal site or you are a Pastor and your e-mail address is on your church web site.
You might wonder how those who send you this garbage have the time to go looking for your e-mail address. It would be very time-consuming for someone to go looking for e-mail addresses by hand, one site at a time. But most spammers use spambots to do their dirty work. A spambot is a program written solely for the purpose of harvesting e-mail addresses.
If you have your own web site or someone takes care of your church web site for you, you may wish to investigate the use of a tool or two that makes it a bit harder for spammers to get your e-mail addresses.
In the past I’ve used a little program called MailTo-Encrypter. Mailto-Encrypter takes your e-mail address and makes it difficult for spambots to harvest by encoding it numerically. It’s still a click-able mailto link but is designed to confuse spambots expecting straight e-mail addresses.
Recently, I found a tool I think does the job a little more thoroughly. Dean Peters over at Heal Your Church Web Site has a tool he’s made available he calls Mean Dean’s Anti-spam Obfuscator. This tool, in Dean’s words, “will randomly convert your entries into a combination of numeric and hexadecimal encodings, as well as a salting of some non-converted characters”. Dean’s site is useful for more than his Anti-spam Obfuscator. He also has good articles and pointers about making your church web site more usable and useful.
Whatever you do, choosing to use one of these tools should at least help keep the unwanted e-mail to a minimum. I also suggest you read, if you maintain a site or point your churches web servant to Dean’s article about the necessities of such a tool and how his tool works.