One harvesting method overlooked is what I call 'screen scraping,' where spammers use commercial software to scan Web sites for e-mail addresses in their rendered or on-screen format. The simple solution I've found to render the commercial software useless is to insert spaces on both sides of the @ symbol of the e-mail address that appears on screen. Since spaces are illegal characters in e-mail addresses, the software skips right over the addresses. Now you have two layers of protection!
The third form of e-mail address harvesting from Web sites is by humans --where someone actually visits the site and copies down the e-mail addresses. I'm sure this is less common with pro-spammers, but it does exist. I have a deterrent for that as well.
First, go to our corporate Web page with your Internet Explorer browser. Highlight some names and e-mail addresses to copy and paste them. Did it work? They should have disappeared. Don't worry, you didn't screw up my Web site; just refresh and they'll come back. It freaks people out! I like getting an e-mail or phone call from a stranger that says, "Uh, I think I just deleted stuff off your Web site." Of course my response is, "Why are you trying to bulk copy e-mail addresses from my Web site?"
The trick isn't really protection, it's more of a deterrent based on the user's skill level. It only works with Internet Explorer browsers. Just add onMouseUp="document.selection.clear()" to the <body> tag of the Web page.
If you use Edit Menu -> Select All -> Edit -> Copy, you can save that clipboard data to a plain text file and work from it.
Do you have comments of your own? Let us know.
This tip was submitted to the SearchDomino.com tip exchange by member Chad Bennett. Please let others know how useful it is via the rating scale below. Do you have a useful Notes/Domino tip or code to share? Submit it to our monthly tip contest and you could win a prize and a spot in our Hall of Fame.