Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Reducing spam – a Web design tip

Posted on 22 April 2003 at 10:00 pm
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  • 22 April 2003 at 10:00 pm #361

    Since I’ve just helped two clients with the following tip today I thought I’d share it with everyone on the Forum.

    Spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail) is a bane to most of us. It wastes our time, and since many FundUK users work for charities, that means spam wastes charities’ money.

    Publication of an e-mail address on a Web site is both an essential method of encouraging people to contact us, and a gift to spam merchants who use address harvesting software to gather e-mail addresses without permission. So, how can you publish your e-mail address and avoid the attention of address harvesters? There are many solutions – and I hope others will share their tips – but here’s one I’ve used.

    Dreamweaver users can download a free extension from Bekker Studios which will convert e-mail addresses to decimal code. For example, the word “mailto” becomes “mailto&#58”

    Visit

    http://www.bekker-studios.com/dreamweaver/index.html

    for more details.

    It’s not a guaranteed solution for all time – no doubt the address harvesters can program their software to recognise this ruse – but it seems to help reduce the spam messages received.

    OK, so this is not quite online fundraising, but it could help save those fundraisers publishing their e-mail address online from wading through quite as much spam as they have to at present.

    Any other tips on how fundraisers or other charity staff can reduce the amount of spam they receive?

    Anonymous
    18 November 2005 at 4:33 pm #4106

    It’s becoming common practice for email addresses to be listed as text without the links now and using the format:

    contactname AT domain.co.uk

    To be honest, speaking as someone who works with regular expressions (ie: pattern matching code) it’s really rather simple to start allowing for the sorts of decimal code, etc… that dreamweaver et al, try to provide and doubtless someone has written a routine to look for [space]AT[space]something[space]DOT… etc…

    In reality the best thing to do is choose a particularly well versed ISP with spam filtering, anti-virus, etc.. support and a good spamming filter program like SpamPal… to keep the spam to a minimum.

    It’s a pain but a necessary evil nowadays..

    Anonymous
    22 November 2005 at 7:14 am #4107

    How about a contact form – using either CGI or PHP – this will mean that they can’t harvest your email address. One of our clients has a site with a contact form (which in a lot of cases is more usable anyway) and doesn’t recieve ANY junk mail from that domain at all

    Rob

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