DATA-MINING WEB BOTS:


Web bots are programs that roam across the internet like viruses. Some are harmless, like those that index pages for search engines. Some are malicious, and one of the major sources of spam. They are designed to search web pages for text strings that match the format of an email address, i.e., X@Y.Z. When they find one, they add it to a database that can be sold to spammers for potential contacts. But if the email address is encoded via Javascript, it can't be read (at least by the current generation of web bots).

Here's how it's done. By using the Javascript "document.write" command we can create new HTML code within the loaded page, assembling the email link from a set of variables containing partial strings. Your choice of font and color may differ from ours, but the basic script will be the same:

SCRIPT YOU NEED TO ENTER   WHAT IT DOES
     
<script language="Javascript">   activates the javascript.
<!--   start
email = "email"   reads part of target email address before the "@" sign here
domain = "domain"   reads part of target email address after the "@" sign here
document.write("<font face='Arial' size=2><strong>");   adjusts the face, size, emphasis of font
document.write("<a href='mailto:" + email + "@" + domain + "'>");   writes the HTML string to create email link
document.write("<font color='6699CC'>");   sets fixed color of displayed link
document.write(email + "@" + domain);   writes the email link to the screen
document.write("</a>");   terminates text writing
document.write("</font></font>");   terminates both assigned text characteristics
//-->   end
</script>   returns control to HTML

What appears on the screen looks and works exactly like a normal email link, except the bots can't read it. Cool, huh? We do what we can to beat the spam.

As long as we have your attention, here's another way to limit the data available to web bots and protect the privacy of your contacts. When you forward an email, or mass-send an original, use the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) option under the Send command. The details will depend on your particular email client, but there's always a way to do this. If you don't use BCC, the list of multiple email recipients in your email header could also be mined by web bots. Use BCC and help us stamp out spam.