Vintners.net: sendemail script use
Page last updated: 24-Dec-2002

Vinters.Net has provided (at no charge to its customers) a special application for the sole purpose of protecting email addresses from "spam" harvesting "robot"s. It is intended to be generic enough to suit all email addresses. This page details how a customer would go about setting up their web pages to use this application.

Click here for more general information about spam management at Vintners.Net.

The way spam email harvesting robots work is to simply fetch every page they can find, and search for "<A href="mailto:..."> links. Some will also look for anything that looks like an Internet email address, namely letters, dashes, dots, numbers followed by an @, followed by letters, dots, dashes, numbers.

The theory behind this app is that spam robots are not likely to "push buttons". To do so would mean many more possible permutations of any given page, with unlikely possibilities of getting more addresses, so it's unlikely that commonly ever done.

However, if you wish to be conservative and assume that buttons are indeed pushed by spam robots, we can accomodate you. Depending on how you configure your page, the email address can either be a ready-to-go directly clickable link, a link that must be manually modified by the sender, or no address offered but instead a fillin form that will be mailed by the server with the users info.

On your page -- as a button:

It's a bit tricky to set up, but not hard. In your HTML, for each email address, you add a GET or POST action <FORM ...> directive with a few hidden fields.

Here's a sample:

    <form method="POST" ACTION="http://vintners.net/cgi-bin/sendemail.pl">
      <input type="hidden" name="user" value="username">
      <input type="hidden" name="domain" value="domain.com">
      <input type="submit" value="get email address">
    </form>
And here's what it actually looks like:
yielding text (not a mailto: link) of "username@domain.com".
You may add the hidden options= values. There are also several optional text changes you may add to the resulting email link. Line-by-line description: Samples -- as a button:
Options="ab": The person sending email can simply click on the link which will bring up their mailer program, but they must then go into the address bar and delete the word "sendemail-remove." from the address. eg; <input type="hidden" name="options" value="a">
which yields "username@sendemail-remove.domain.com"
Options=c: <input type="hidden" name="options" value="c"> which yields "username @ domain.com"

Using as a link:
If you really don't want to use it as a button, you can use it as normal old HREF link, by calling out the URL from the ACTION above, following it with a question mark, then your settings, seperated by ampersands. eg;
    <a href="http://vintners.net/cgi-bin/sendemail.pl?user=username&domain=domain.com&options=ac">options AC</a>
    options AC which yields: "user @ domain.com"
Most importantly, if using this latter method, you must use one of the options. Spam robots will not be able to interpret this HREF as an email address on its own, however as it is a normal link, they will follow it. With no options, the resultant page does have the legitimate mailto: HREF which would completely defeat the purpose of using the script.

Here's a sample which replaces the "@" with "(at)":     <a href="http://vintners.net/cgi-bin/sendemail.pl?user=username&domain=domain.com&atsign=(at)&options=ac">options AC, atsign=(at)</a>
    options AC, atsign=(at) which yields: a clickable mailto: link, "user (at) domain.com"
This method is a sure winner as the spam robots will no longer even consider this to be an email address -- it's just more text. However, it's only a matter of time before the robots start looking for this too. (Doing this in a button is merely another "hidden" field, just like "user" and "domain".)

The safest method all around, is to never offer an email address at all. This may be less convenient for the sender as they're stuck with their web browsers' editor instead of their favorite email editor. The following method does this:
    <a href="http://vintners.net/cgi-bin/sendemail.pl?user=user&domain=domain.com&options=d&page=http://vintners.net/webhelp/sendemailuse.html">options D</a>
    options D

Lastly, you can choose to have a graphical confirmation string to protect from spam robots that fill in forms. Simply add the following two lines:
<input type="text" size=4 name="confirm">
<!--#include virtual="/cgi-bin/numsgetimg.pl?gen=4" -->

The number 4 in this example dictates how many graphical characters to display, and require them to enter.


You can also create a sendemail.cfg file in your data directory. This file may contain:

Don't hesitate to call if you have problems with it or think of features you'd like to see added to it. Contact us.


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