No Email Addresses! No Mailto:// Hyperlinks!

International No Symbol with mailto textMost of us like to receive messages; nobody likes to receive spam messages.  Once one of our email addresses becomes known to spammers we are going to be targeted.  Let's see how we can shutdown one common way that spammers harvest email addresses.

One of the most common techniques spammers use to harvest email addresses is to crawl the web with robots that search for email addresses.  Programmatically it's pretty simple; first look for the string 'mailto://' and, when found, test the following characters to identify the address, someone@example.com.  The only thing easier is to get access to someone's address list.  Observant readers will note that my WYSIWYG editor automatically converted the example email address into a mailto hyperlink.

We need to realize that, aside from demonstrations like the previous example, nobody puts a bad email address on a website!  As website owners, we generally want people to be able to conveniently contact us and sending an email message is usually the best way.  So, how do we conceal our email addresses from spammers while letting site visitors easily send us messages?  The answer is: Through our Contact pages.

Drupal contact pages allow us to define email recipients for messages initiated by site visitors without exposing our email address to spammers.  Our website will collect the message and other information, like the visitor's email address, and send it to us without informing the site visitor of the recipient's address.  Only when the recipient replies to the message will the recipient's email address, of necessity, be revealed.

Please don't put my email address, or anyone else's, on your website.  Use a contact page/form instead.