Too much spam

April 15, 2003

In my endless effort to combat spam, I've implemented the Hiveware Enkoder from Dan Benjamin. The Enkoder completely removes my e-mail address from the site, at least as far as e-mail-harvesting robots are concerned. Dan writes:

The Enkoder will encrypt your e-mail address and wrap the result in JavaScript, hiding it from e-mail-harvesting robots which crawl the web looking for exposed addresses. Just paste the resulting JavaScript into your website's HTML. Your address will be displayed correctly by web-browsers, but will be virtually indecipherable to e-mail harvesting robots.

Instead of merely breaking up and printing out a standard mailto: tag, The Enkoder generates a unique and random key and ties that to an encrypted array containing your address for even better protection.

And now, the Enkoder uses a genetic algorithm to generate the JavaScript so it's different every time. Because the JavaScript changes each time you run the Enkoder, it is virtually impossible for spammers to parse and decode your address.

I have been doing a kind of half-assed version of this for a while by using "justin at justinblanton dot com" on the contact page, but that method obviously disables the ability to simply click on the address. With the Enkoder, I can retain the "justin@justinblanton.com" phrase and the link.

Yes, the Enkoder requires the use of JavaScript, something I'm usually against as a rule (I like to the keep the pages as 'clean' as possible), but I feel that the immediate benefits warrant the aberration.

On a related note, if you plan on implementing this yourself and decide to use the Enkoder Form, it won't produce the correct output in the latest Opera release (v7.1; perhaps earlier versions as well). You'll need to view the source of the webpage and copy the code from there. The author has been notified of this slight quirk.

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