A Designers Guide to Canning Spam


Everyone has to deal with it on a daily basis. It’s the modern digital equivalent of black death. It’s Spam – and it’s not he kind that comes in a can. Through a simple search, there appears to be a multitude of low-tech, design unfriendly solutions to keep your inbox free and clear from unwanted solicitation. With your friends at elbowruminations battling Spam for our clients on daily basis, we would like to present these best practices in Spam prevention for Graphic Designers and Web Developers.

Don’t Publish
Whenever you are posting a comment, placing an ad, or using an online service like Flickr, make sure you don’t post your address. These kinds of places are the targets of spam spiders and other pesky creatures of the internet. Spammers use these spiders, which are automated computer programs, to scan web pages in an effort to find “mailto” links. If your e-mail address is publicly displayed, it is easy prey for spammers.

Presentation Counts
If you are thinking about including a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, or a PDF on a website for investors or potential clients. Be sure that your only contact information is a phone number or a link to the website in the form of a url. Spiders and Bots not only have the ability to index web pages but also other types of files as well. Be aware that anything you put online is potentially visible to spiders.

Encode your Address
As an alternative to inconvenient e-mail address hidden in image files, or the classic “me at domain dot com” text tricks, why not take advantage of some new advancements. By using java script or html you can hide your address in a way that won’t cut down on functionality. By using these tools, you can have the protection you need with the clickability everyone wants. For those mac users out there, here’s a nice widget that will do the job quite nicely. For PC users, here’s a site that offers the same service.

Use a Contact Form
Perhaps instead of using e-mail addresses as the primary contact method, consider a contact form instead. It’s easy and will stealthily protect your address without much hassle.

Search and Destroy
Finally, find out where e-mail addresses are already published by doing a search. Simply type your e-mail address into a search engine and see what comes up. If you find anything, track down the source and remove your address from that website.

Hopefully you find these tips helpful in waging war on inbox invaders. If you have any other tips to share, send us an e-mail. Just kidding, but feel free to leave a comment.