Sweet Trick

I was checking out the Hiveware site today, and they have an interesting solution to the problem of putting email links on web pages. In the early days of the web, this was one of the first ways in which we used to explain the inherent difference of the medium to prospective clients: It allowed for simple and direct feedback from user (potential clients from anywhere in the world) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. GREAT!
Then someone wrote program to parse the email address out of any web pages, and set that spider loose on the net harvesting unsuspecting addresses off of the new entruprentuers’ sites. SPAM is a real problem, but that feedback mechanism is critical to providing an additional channel for customer service.
Hiveware uses JavaScript in their free product “Enkoder” to scramble email adresses in order to confuse the address harvesters. It makes addresses hard for a script to harvest.
We came accross this while we were reading an article about how to use Apache’s mod_rewrite to block access to the web servers. As Mark Pilgrim says on his site:

You will never stop all abusive behavior from all automated robots and rude programs, but you can minimize their effects and reduce the abuse to acceptable levels.

If you get over to his site, be sure to see “100” a work in progress consitsting of photopraphs and creative writing. I guess eventually there will be 100 items here?

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