Email Address Munging Still Mitigates Harvesting

At least a decade into the use of simple email munging on web pages (my own solution here) there’s a growing consensus—and it seems like common sense with the advancement of the web in general—that this surely can’t still work on modern harvesters. While trying to look up some old research I’d read about this, I came across this January 2010 post by a Project Honey Pot admin:

We’ve run tests on different munging techniques and find that they are still surprisingly effective. We have a page that has a set of differently munged addresses. The ones protected by Javascript have yet to receive a single message. Even simple things like using ASCII character encoding to hide the @ sign, or adding spaces to the addresses, is surprisingly effective at stopping harvesting.

Whether to munge or not is kind of a religious war, but I see this as pretty convincing evidence that munging isn’t obsolete just yet. Of course this or any other single prevention strategy isn’t a “solution”, but mitigation of the inevitable is still arguably worthwhile, especially for people without the luxury of having top notch admins run their mail server.

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