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Email at the bottom of every page.

Joel says at :

I’ve brought back on ancient tradition from ye olde World-Wide Web that I haven’t seen in a decade but which used to be universal in the years before the dotcommers arrived: my email address is at the bottom of every page.

I commend Joel for doing it. This has been the case for my personal homepage for several years now and I'm proud of it:

Someone whom I referred to my homepage on IRC, said that I should not put it in the HTML in the open, and that I should obscure it inside an image, so spammers cannot harvest it. However, I've known for a long time that it's impossible to hide your email from spammers, because they routinely install email-collecting malware on people's computers. So obscuring email using images, will not prevent spammers from getting it, and instead will inconvenience your users or, in case of disability - prevent them from contacting you.

Recently, I've started to see a trend of not providing emails, and instead only having web-based contact forms. However, spammers also have robots to crawl for web forms and spam them, and I was told that handling spam from these web-forms is even more difficult than with email.

Eric S. Raymond has been mentioning "No email address for feedback" on his HTML Hell Page for many years, too:

On a lighter side, I should note that I was once contacted via Facebook by an SEO expert, who contacted me about a Linux club site where I explicitly placed an email at the bottom of the club's organisers, because she felt it was too impersonal. I guess you can never please anyone.
Shlomi Fish Send private email
Friday, December 26, 2008
There are some ways to protect email from being spammed. By pictures, js, etc.
Of course, where are protection measures spammers have the counter-protection measures, but, having Some protections (especially if You combine several different methods) You may actually succeed in moving away 99% of spam.

For example, You may obfuscate the email in some way in the process of page loading and get this countered by Js then the user points the mouse over the email (or then the browser finishes rendering). That'll turn away the most of the robot collectors, while not making Your users life a lot harder... Except they have the JS off, but that's the rare thing.
Michael Voronin Send private email
Friday, December 26, 2008
I set up a site with an email address on it about five months ago. So far the legitimate mail is getting through but I haven't had a single spam. Not one.

This leads me to believe that the whole "address harvesting" thing is overblown.

I know spammers are visiting the site because the online forums are *constantly* being trashed. Email? Not so much.
Jimmy Jones
Friday, December 26, 2008
One thing that amazes me about most blogging software is that the entry date is not a prominent part of the heading.  When you click on a random Google hit you sometimes have to fish around at the very bottom of the post (or a reply) for any kind of date at all.  Often in micro-text rendered in light grey.

Then when the software does datestamp entries it often leaves off the year (sheesh).

Horribly unprofessional, terribly common.
ms. lexic
Friday, December 26, 2008
I sympathize with people overrun by spammers; but most of those web contact forms have the effect of offloading *your* spam problem onto your customers, by making them jump through hoops to contact you.

I tolerate them if they're very simple (e-mail address, text, and maybe a general subject), but I've found many that want you to fill out twenty required fields...and then they crash when you submit, or they clear the whole form if you leave out one required field.

Like copy-protection, in attempting to deal with lawbreakers, they penalize legitimate customers.
Kyralessa Send private email
Friday, December 26, 2008
Gmail has some darn good spam protection.  The occasional message slips through, but it's about 1% ... I've tried Outlook, MailWasher and SpamAssassin and those don't even come close, or they filter out the good emails and let the bad ones through.

I forward my domain name emails to gmail now, so I can display my contact info on every page.  No silly forms, JavaScript obfuscation or images.
Robert Plank Send private email
Friday, December 26, 2008
"This leads me to believe that the whole 'address harvesting' thing is overblown."

It's must more likely that your site simply isn't important/popular/interesting enough to have been found.  Once you get linked by a reasonably popular site, your address will be collected and abused in no time.

Friday, December 26, 2008
"Once you get linked by a reasonably popular site, your address will be collected and abused in no time."

+1 for that. If you're not being absolutely ambushed by trash email then you just haven't been harvested yet.

Friday, December 26, 2008
"+1 for that. If you're not being absolutely ambushed by trash email then you just haven't been harvested yet. "

Probably... but that doesn't explain why the online forums are under constant attack.

There's some hidden honeypot pages on the site with thousands of junk email addresses on them, regenerated every time you load the page. Maybe they're detecting that and staying away.
Jimmy Jones
Friday, December 26, 2008

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