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A very common habit for most Internet users while posting their email address in public forums, new groups and discussion is to obfuscate their email using various techniques to prevent spammers and email harvesting bots from getting their email id.

Problem with Current Email Obfuscation

Manual Obfuscation

Some of the more common examples used quite frequently have been listed below

emailme[at]domain.com
emailme [at] domain [ . ] com
emailme(at)domain(dot)com

Posting email addresses with obfuscation like in the above example is counter productive and non-intuitive. Not only are users are expected to copy the email address and manually edit it but an assumption is made that the user who sees the Obfuscated email knows where to edit it the Obfuscated email.

Using Images

Another very common method to solve this problem has been to use images which display the email addresses. This again is counter productive and non-intuitive as it requires the user to manually read out and type the email addresses.

Using JavaScript/PHP

JavaScript or PHP has been one of the most widely used methods of Email Obfuscation. One drawback of the method is that it requires you to Obfuscate the email address and use that in your HTML code, when the page loads a JavaScript function fires which de-Obfuscates the email address. This method/trick works most of the time since Spammers and email harvesting bots make use of raw HTML to harvest email addresses and are not smart enough to parse out the JavaScript code. Users with JavaScript disabled (a very rare percent) will not be able to see the email address since the email is presented in the Obfuscated form.

Semantic Anti Spam Email Obfuscation Solution

A simple solution is to use HTML Character Entity to Obfuscate the email address.
For example for the email address emailme@domain.com we could encode each letter with their respective HTML Character Entity to give us the following HTML code given below.

emailme@domain.com

The code above will render as emailme@domain.com when viewed as a HTML page in any browser.

Semantic Email Obfuscation For Better User Experience and Usability

Using Semantic Email Obfuscation not only helps acts as an anti-spam protection measure against spammers. But is also helpful from a User Experience and usability point of view. You can easily use it in anchor tag with href="mailto:". See the example below. A user can easily copy or click on the link to get your email address.

<a rel="nofollow" title="My Email Address" HREF="mailto:&#101;&#109;&#097;&#105;&#108;&#109;&#101;&#064;&#100;&#111;&#109;&#097;&#105;&#110;&#046;&#099;&#111;&#109;">
Email Address
</a>

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