Monday, January 17, 2011

Generating email address images to avoid spam on your site

Now a days you can't publish an email address anywhere without receiving a bunch of spam immediately after. Those spam web crawlers just search everysite looking for everything and anything that resembles an email address.
I very often see people use different variations of writing their email like "myname at" or "myname at mydomain dot com".
I don't think this covers it anymore...
The best way, in my opinion, is to create an image of the email address instead of writing it. (That's what facebook does as well..)

I started working on a user based site, and the users' emails will be displayed throughout the site. So I created a class that will dynamically generate email address images for me so my precious users won't be so vulnerable to all the spam out there.

Here it is :

I will probably make some changes before using this on my site :
1. I don't think it's smart to give the file the name of the actual email address. I'll probably generate some unique ID but built from the users name.
2. I haven't decided yet if I want the image to be a link to contact the user. If so, then I must create a unique id for each user, and have the link lead to that page with the unique id so i can identify the user being contacted.
3. I'll probably add a simple caching mechanism to this, hence create a folder to store all the images, and then check if it exists before creating a new one each time.

Enjoy :)

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