Spam-Free Email Links

Most of us usually put our music online in the hope that fans, managers, agents, publishers, venues, promoters, DJs, producers and potential investors  are going to discover us and help advance our musical careers. It stands to reason that busy music professionals will probably want to drop you a line if they’re interested. But it also stands to reason that they won’t want to muck about with  MySpace messaging capchas, or befriending you on Facebook just so they can write on your wall. If you’re serious about advancing your musical career your website definitely needs to include a contact email address.

spam list

And there’s the problem.  Everyone knows how spam robots patrol the world wide interwebs harvesting email addresses from every page they visit. If you just type “band@bandname.com” or even “band(at)bandname(dot)com” you’ll be knee deep in spam in no time. The safest solution is to just embed your email address as an imagein the web page so human eyes can read it, but machines don’t even know it’s there. But the fact that it can’t be clicked, copied or pasted does make it that bit harder for for people to get in touch.

Another common solution is to cloak the address in javascript, so that the source code looks like a jumble to the spam robot, but displays just fine in your web browser. So long as you’ve got javascript enabled. Your third possibility is to change the address into either hex or html characters, which the browser can also interpret on the fly and turn into a working address when the page is viewed. No fancy javascript required.

Needless to say spammers are getting ever more sophisticated in their approach, so none of the above is 100% foolproof or will last forever.  But they’re all way preferable to typing  your contact address openly there on a web page, which will drown your inbox in spam within a couple of months. There are many sites offering free encoding services to help you cloak your email address; here are two that I’ve found and used with good results:

    • * Email-encoder.net can create a a .gif image of your address in customised colours and typeface to match your web page, or turn it into your choice of hex or html
    • * David Tulga’s  Anti-Spam Email Cloaking v2.0 page will create as much custom  javascript as you need, and offers a variety of link options

Both of them are free and effective. So no excuses – you can now make your email address as widely available as possible to friends and allies – while making sure it stays a well-kept secret from the bad guys.

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More…

3 Comments

  1. So-called “Music Professionals’ have no idea about music, they wouldn’t know good music if it hit them in the face.

    What I can’t understand is why should the desire to “make it” and be known and too even some degree be signed take more importance than the actual songs and the music, why has music become a commodity in this day and age, whereby to be known and liked is more than remaining true to ones self?…. where is is the spiritual and primal urge in music.

    The current state of the music world particularly the indie music world is a shambles, there is no longer any true spirit where that spirit be (rock n roll, punk or soul), there is no longer much angst, not even much sadness… when I listen to modern bands, yeah it sounds cool, yeah it has a nice melody… but what are any of these musicians saying to me?…. not much.

    busy music professionals can remain busy in my way of thinking… who really wants to be lining these jerks pockets with money when the deal is you might get known?…. it’s dodgy and totally kills creativity…. creativity is deader than the dodo anyway thanks to the music professionals who’s only form of professionalism is that they know how to screw bands into the ground with shitty deals and hopes of fame.

    fuck fame, in my line of thinking music and creativity should be an individual process a self developing process, a process to express creativity the way YOU want and YOU should… if you want the bullshit… by all means sell your souls… because there are very few who remain true to themselves.

    let some music professional tell you what to do and do it.

    All the best

    Paul

  2. Fair point well made, Paul.

    Whatever your artistic goals and whatever route you take towards achieving them, it’s probably still a good idea to include an email address on your website though…

  3. Sorry for the off-load Tom,

    I just feel so passionately about it all really, music is an outlet for me also and I guess I get a bit of a chip on my shoulder when I have to endure really bad and awful bands making money and being sell outs.

    You do a great thing with your ‘introducing’ show and it is well needed in this day and age, since the passing of John Peel.

    Paul

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