File Under: Web Basics

The Safest Way to Publish Your Email Address

At the dawn of time, including your email address on a web page didn’t seem like a horrible idea. Now, that’s the easiest way to get on every spam list around. Sadly, this makes it a little more difficult to solicit email from site visitors.

Silvan Mühlemann decided to find the best way to safely publish an email address. He started his test almost two years ago and recently published the results.

Silvan created nine email addresses and use a different method of obfuscation–nine different ways of hiding the actual address. Of the methods he tested, three of the email addresses never received a spam message.

The simplest method is to add markup with display: none styling so it doesn’t show:

email@<span style="display: none">null</span>example.com

The other two methods are reversing backwards text with unicode declarations and simple ROT13 encoding using JavaScript to decode. Next on the list, receiving just a few spam emails, was the popular email AT example DOT com method. Silvan did not test the email-as-image method, one employed by Facebook on its profile pages.

These methods probably won’t work with a mailto: link for easy clicking. Still, they all allow copy-pasting, instead of laborious re-typing, so they’re worth a shot. And yes, I know you could just use a contact form, but isn’t that a little impersonal? I think so.