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SpamSpan 1.01 - Email Address Encoder

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SpamSpan - Email Address Encoder

SpamSpan - Email Address Encoder

Heinz Tschabitscher

The Bottom Line

SpamSpan uses a clever combination of JavaScript and CSS to hide email addresses on web sites from spammers but make them available to prospective senders of good mail, even if they have JavaScript disabled in their browser. While easy to install and use itself, SpamSpan lacks a tool to encode all addresses on a site in one fell swoop.


  • SpamSpan encodes email addresses using JavaScript and CSS to hide them from spammers
  • Even with JavaScript disabled, visitors can usually use your address
  • SpamSpan has three levels of enciphering strength


  • SpamSpan lacks a tool that automatically encodes all addresses on a site
  • A captcha before revealing an address would offer even better protection


  • SpamSpan encodes email addresses on web sites to hide them from spammers.
  • A combination of JavaScript and CSS is used to conceal addresses while keeping mailto functional.
  • If visitors have disabled JavaScript, SpamSpan shows a textual representation of the address.

Guide Review - SpamSpan 1.01 - Email Address Encoder

If you put your email address on your blog hoping for many an interesting conversation, what you probably get sooner and in larger quantities is spam. Spamming software scans the web continuously for innocent and unprotected email addresses. Yours, of course, does not have to remain open to such assaults.

With SpamSpan, you can hide email addresses from spammers while still making them available to prospective human senders of good and welcome mail. SpamSpan does this by using some JavaScript that makes a mailto link work like normal for browser users but disguises the email address from software that does not understand the somewhat involved code (like, say, most spamming tools).

What happens if the welcome visitor uses an incompatible browser (if there are any) or has JavaScript disabled? Then SpamSpan falls back to showing either an image or textual representation of the email address that is not itself the address. Of course, you could have written "email [dot] guide [at] about [dot] com" — what SpamSpan will typically show in these cases — directly, but that would take the convenience of just clicking to send an email out of so many people's lives unnecessarily.

Some spam software might be able to interpret this textual if a bit roundabout representation, though the risk is not too elevated yet. With all that convenience for visitors, SpamSpan is easy to install but lacks a tool that would automatically encode all addresses on a site. "Search and replace" will have to do.

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