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Save Yourself; Email Masking

Posted on 11.29.2005

A study from the Federal Trade Commission revealed that technology is gaining ground in the battle against spam. While most Web workers can't tell from the deluge of unsolicited email in their inboxes, the FTC suggests that there are additional steps that can be taken to curb the amount received.
 
The agency studied three aspects of spam: e-mail address harvesting – the automated collection of e-mail addresses from public areas of the Internet; the effectiveness of spam filtering by ISPs; and the effectiveness of using “masked” e-mail addresses as a technique to prevent the harvesting of e-mail addresses. 
 
The study also tested whether using “masked” e-mail addresses prevents the harvesting of e-mail addresses and consequently reduces spam. “Masking” addresses involves altering an e-mail address to make it understandable to the recipient but confusing to automated harvesting software. For example, an e-mail address such as johndoe@ftc.gov could be altered to appear as john doe at FTC dot gov. The study found that masking e-mail addresses was very effective in thwarting harvesting. After five weeks, unmasked e-mail addresses had received more than 6,400 pieces of spam, while the masked e-mail addresses had received only one piece of spam. 
 
The study concluded that consumers who must post their e-mail addresses on Web sites can reduce the risk of having their e-mail address harvested – making them a target of spammers – by masking their addresses. It also demonstrated the effectiveness of ISPs’ spam filters. 
 
If you are ready to save some time from receiving future unsolicted emails, WSM encourage you to start masking your email address today. We've found a great one that works very, very well - the email encoder from West Bay Web.

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