Hide directory emails from spammers

In this Article

In the same way that Google and other search engines crawl your web pages with bots that make your content searchable, spammers have bots that crawl your site looking for email addresses to take advantage of. In this article, we will show you some preventative alternatives.

Create a password-protected portal

The best way to help prevent this from happening to your constituents' emails is to make sure your email directory is situated behind a password-protected portal.

Display email address as text or icon

Another way to make it harder for email harvesters to find email addresses is to display email addresses as icons, rather than putting the full address directly on the page.

In the Composer Constituent Element, whether in the Constituent Details or Pop-Up Details section of the element settings, there is an option alongside the email display option to Display email address as text or icon. 

Display email as text or icon.gif

Important Note

This does not permanently mask an email address. If someone clicks on the icon to bring up the email window, the address is available in the "To" field, where it can still be copied. Other types of email harvesters search the page source and can find "mailto" links as well as text addresses. This is, however, an extra step that acts as a deterrent by making it more difficult for bots to obtain the email addresses in bulk.

Set up secondary email addresses

An alternative that might fool more sophisticated email harvesters would be to set up secondary email addresses to use for emails coming from web pages. For example, if the head of school’s email address needs to be displayed on a public page, use headofschool@yourschool.edu and set it to forward to jsmith@yourschool.edu. Because it is a separate inbox, you can set up rules so that it only forwards legitimate-looking messages. For other extreme techniques to prevent email harvesting, explore those proposed by Smashing Magazine.

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