5 Ways To Make a Spammer Hate You

A spammer’s worst enemy is an educated user. Here are five easy ways to make sure you’ll never be a spammer’s best friend:

1.  Don’t display your email address as plain text on your website. A contact form is best, since it protects your email address from harvesting bots, but if you must display your actual email address, display it as an image. The bots can’t “see” text in images so they won’t be able to grab your address.

2. Don’t sell your mailing list. It may seem tempting as a way to bring in some extra income, but think twice. Even though your customers may have opted in and consented to having their email addresses given to third parties, you can’t control what those third parties might do with it.

3. Don’t respond to spam. Resist the urge to tell them off and ignore any unsubscribe links. If your email doesn’t bounce, it will simply tell the spammers that your address is active and responsive to spam.

4. Invest in a throwaway email address. Sign up for a free account on Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail or other free provider. Use it instead of your main account for registering on websites, shopping online, and so on; then ignore it. This keeps your main inbox free of spam.

5. Watch your ports and relays. If your company isn’t using it, block port 25 and make sure your network isn’t hosting any open relays. This will eliminate two popular spam tools and keep your domain from ending up on a blacklist.

Written by Sue Walsh


  1. Dari Perez · December 6, 2011

    Displaying your email address even as an image on your website or in your blog can still be deciphered. Many spammers are now employing several people from outsourcing agents to manually get imaged addresses.

    Among the factors listed above, the most effective, practical, and sure way of fighting off spam is using throwaway email address. It’s also very user-friendly. You don’t have to be techy or knowledgeable about port 25 to use this system. For me, I maintain a Gmail address for all my online forum and community accounts. This way, you’ll not only protect your email, you also protect your privacy.

  2. Chris Capinaro · December 6, 2011

    Throwaway accounts are an absolute dream when it comes to filtering spam in one direction. The only real downside is that it can be tempting to ignore them entirely and someone you may be shopping from can try to use that as an avenue with which to contact you.

  3. Ian Rudge · January 24, 2012

    By far the greatest contributors to the spam epidemic are devil-may-care professional website designers who, through failing to implement security measures on contact pages, allow their clients’ email addresses to be harvested.

    It’s hard to persuade designers to change their bad habits, probably because there is no financial incentive to spend time implementing security measures, especially when the designer is not the one to suffer the consequences.

  4. Ian Rudge · January 24, 2012

    As for (1) the main issue is that of website design companies exposing their clients’ addresses to harvesting. For some reason they just don’t seem to care about the consequences.

    Maybe because it isn’t themselves who have to suffer the spam.

  5. Charles Norrie · February 2, 2012

    Most of these ideas are good, but one needs a whole time email address. I use Google which has a pretty good spam filter and uses the https protocol, so is more secure. And I use Ubuntu as my OS, which is musch safer than any Windows malware.

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