ARCHIVE / What options are there for email obfuscation?

Since the goal of email obfuscation is usually to allow for a functional mailto: link while preventing email crawlers from discerning the email address, the available options for email obfuscation usually rely on JavaScript.  That noted, different approaches can be used. 

One means is to encode the characters using HTML character escape sequences.  This option will work for most email crawlers but not those sophisticated enough to have a preprocessor to decode escape characters. 

Another option is to generate the mailto: link with JavaScript in such a way that an email crawler cannot see the email address plainly in the JavaScript code.  This option works well but is not sufficient for those email crawlers sophisticated enough to use textual web browsers that support simple JavaScript code.

A third option is have the mailto: link in an embedded file, such as a Flash piece.  This method works but is problematic in those rare cases where Flash is not supported and when there are multiple or variable email addresses needing to be displayed.  It also increases the downloadable size of the page and time required to display the page.

A fourth method is to use JavaScript to display the mailto: link only after the user has performed an action, such as mousing over an area of the page.  Since even textual browsers running JavaScript will not automatically simulate the action of mousing over a specific area, this method is also highly effective.  The only drawback is that since it requires an action to be performed, the email address will not necessarily be visible on a printout of the page.

last updated 2013.11.30

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