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Spam mail test, which method gets the most spam.
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Spam mail test, which method gets the most spam.

How to stop spam mail

How do I stop spam?

Spam and scammer e-mails are something which the majority of us get (remember the prince who died and left you some money or the lottery win you had even though you didn't buy a ticket?) and can't stand (unless you are part of the 419eater.com team!). The good news is that various methods online exist to try and cut down on the amount of spam mail you receive.

The question is how effective are these methods and which method should you use?

This gave us an idea for a test, what if we created 6 e-mail addresses on a test server and made them public using the same methods? Which e-mail address would get the most spam? Which wouldn't get any? Which would become so spam ridden that you would potentially have to give it up?

search e-mail address for @

How do spammers get your e-mail?

The most popular way spammers get your e-mail is to use a program to search the internet looking for the @ symbol. When it finds one, it saves the e-mail address and gives it to the spammer. Generally, these are then either used by the spammer to send you e-mails or are sold on to various other spammers.

The Spam Experiment

The experiment is actually very simple. We create 6 different e-mail addresses and post them on 6 different pages on our server. To keep things fair, we will only tweet each page once and link to them once on this page. We also do not include the html mailto: link on tests 1-5 (this is required for test6).

At the end of each week, we will count how many spam mail each address has received and give a total. Over time, we should have some interesting data to look at and be able to see which methods of protecting your e-mail addresses work and which don't.

One thing we have left out of this test is contact forms. These are generally the best way of allowing people to contact you (especially with spam protection like CAPTCHA). This test assumes you can not use this method and it is necessary to display your e-mail address on your site or at the least a link to mailto.

Let the spam mail experiment begin!

The fiendishly simple tests, "here spammer spammer spammer!"

The tests are as follows:

Test 1 : Default e-mail display

Spam graph 1

Test Location : https://www.squirrelhosting.co.uk/hosting-blog/spammailtest/1.html

This test is displaying the e-mail address as is. This means it literally displays the e-mail address as if it was typed in. No protection is used here and gives us our baseline for spam. This is the address which we predict will become unusable by the end of the year.

Test 2 : Switching @ for [at]

Spam graph 1

Test Location : https://www.squirrelhosting.co.uk/hosting-blog/spammailtest/2.html

Something many people do online is switch the @ symbol for [at]. This has been common practise online but does it really work? Only time will tell!

Test 3 : Switching @ for [at] and . for [dot]

Spam graph 1

Test Location : https://www.squirrelhosting.co.uk/hosting-blog/spammailtest/3.html

Another method used widely online and something you would expect spammers to have got used to working with.

Test 4 : Using a picture of your e-mail instead of text

Spam graph 1

Test Location : https://www.squirrelhosting.co.uk/hosting-blog/spammailtest/4.html

This test is one we are keen to see the affects of. The principle is simple, if spammers search for text, don't let them find any by using an image. Can spammers still detect the e-mail address in a picture?

Test 5 : Switching the @ symbol for html code @ and dot for .

Spam graph 1

Test Location : https://www.squirrelhosting.co.uk/hosting-blog/spammailtest/5.html

Whilst this is not used as much online as the others, it's one method which many people swear by. Are they swearing due the the amount of spam they get though?

Test 6 : Using Javascript

Spam graph 1

Test Location : https://www.squirrelhosting.co.uk/hosting-blog/spammailtest/6.html

This method uses Simple javascript to hide the e-mail address and display a contact link instead.


So there you have it, 6 tests which should finally settle the spam mail argument!

We will update these results each week so make sure to check back to find out the results.

Let the spam mail experiment begin!

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