Avoiding spammer "harvesting" of your site's email addresses
Posted on 2001-08-23
Having set up a website some four years ago, I'm now on the list of almost every spammer on the net. Looking at my server logs I see almost every day an unidentified bot come through the site (i.e. not one I recognise as being from a search engine) as they harvest the information they find in the "mailto:" tags.
Spam in my inbox is an annoyance, but it costs me nothing but time (I have a flat rate internet account). Now, however, I want to include in our site a form which allows the visitor to send a message instantly to my pager, which can be done via an email address.
What I *don't* want is for that address to be harvested and to pay 20 cents a message for my mobile screen to be filled with ads urging me to buy CDs crammed with other harvested address, hot stock tips, and exhortations to increase the length of parts of my anatomy.
I remember reading once that it is *is* possible to sabotage address-harvesting bots (they still get the information but it's unusable and bounces back to the spammer unless they manually edit it?) but still have the form work. Any idea how?