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How to Fight Spam

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Spam is one of the scourges of the internet. Despite the fact that no one says they like spam, enough people purchase from spam emails to make it a highly profitable business. The simplest way to stop spam is to cut them off financially by not purchasing the advertised products. Even law enforcement has not had an effect. Much spam is generated outside the United States and beyond the jurisdictional bounds of our courts. Spammers in the United States are prosecuted, but the monetary rewards are so high that it is worth the risk of getting caught.

But since that is not happening, there is another way to fight it and also hit the spammers in the pocket book. Spammers use search robots that constantly crawl the internet looking for email addresses to include in their email list. They absolutely love finding an employee or friend list with names and email addresses. Everyone on the list begins receiving unsolicited emails and the the list can also be sold to other spammers.  

There are two ways to fight against this type of spammer. The first is to not include visible email addresses. Simply hiding the email address in code does not work (example: Dan). The code itself has to be encrypted. For instance, our email address looks something like this: 119,101,104,101,108,112,64,119, 105,114,101,103,114, 97, 115, 115, 119, 101, 98, 115, 46,99,111,109. The spambot would need the key which is randomly generated in order to break the code and send spam.

The second way to fight back is to link to an anti-spam page such as the one on ezinedesigner.com. There is a program on this page that creates bogus email addresses "on the fly." The spambot grabs all the email addresses as it goes down the list, then on reaching the bottom is linked back to the top of the list and an entirely new list of fake addresses are generated. The spambot is kept in this loop picking up hundreds, if not thousands, of fake email addresses. If enough sites link to ezinedesigner.com then the value of their lists decreases and their processing power is wasted on sending and receiving failed emails.

Another form of spam that has become much more prevalent in the past year or so is form-generated spam. In this case the spambot crawls the web looking for forms to fill out which are then sent to the recipient with links to websites, usually porn. Currently the only way to stop this is to use the also hated "catpcha" pictures. Captcha pictures are a randomly generated combination of letters and/or numbers that spambots find difficult to read. The text must then be entered into a box before the form is sent.

Originally captcha codes were simple and easy to read. However spammers trained their spambots to read the code. Now the best captcha codes must be a picture that is extremely difficult for even humans to decipher.

Web design is much more than putting a pretty site on the web. Knowing how to prevent nuisances such as spammers eliminates potential frustration. Wiregrass Advertising strives to look out for our clients. Therefore, inclusion of anti-spam methods is part of every site we develop.

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