[thelist] spambot & javascript

Peter Smulders schmolle at pobox.com
Tue Sep 23 08:59:09 CDT 2003

Hi all,

Keith Underdown wrote:

> On Tue, 23 Sep 2003 13:31:42 +0100, John C Bullas 
> <jcbullas at nildram.co.uk> wrote:
>> This code goes where you want your mailto:address to appear on the page.
>> <SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">
>> print_mail_to_link()
>> </SCRIPT>
>> works pretty well, the email addresses are NOT visible UNLESS the page 
>> is delivered by a browser
>> URL given looks "fine and dandy" otherwise
> What's to stop the spamboot actually being a "browser", i.e. actually 
> running the javascript and seeing the rendered page?

I think it stands to reason that it would be too much trouble.

I read an article the other day[1] that concluded somewhere along the 
line that:

	"none of the addresses that were obscured, whether in "human-readable" 
or "HTML-obscured" form, received a single piece of spam, leading us to 
conclude that e-mail address "harvesters" are not presently capable of 
collecting such addresses. While this may change as time passes and 
technology develops, for the time being it appears that obscuring an 
e-mail address is an effective means of avoiding spam."

This means that you can do without JavaScript or anything other more 
flashy than using '&#064;' instead of '@'

Here is something useful to do that just that[2].

At the risk of giving $%^&* spammers more credit than they deserve: it 
actually makes sense not to try to de-obscure email addresses: if 
someone went through the trouble of obscuring their address in this way, 
surely the only purpose could be to avoid spam.

Whilst spammers appear to operate under the assumption that anyone might 
enjoy their message (they just do not know which exact idiot amongst 
every 1.000.000 recipients that is) there is a notion of 'quality' in 
harvested address lists. Avoiding to put people on the list who have 
gone through some trouble to not be harvested would increase the 
quality, if not the quantity.


[1] http://www.cdt.org/speech/spam/030319spamreport.shtml
[2] http://www.wbwip.com/wbw/emailencoder.html

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