Spam, spam, spam...

The Oxford English Dictionary defines spam as "1. A canned meat product made mainly from ham. 2. Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of users." The origin of the term, in relation to the internet, according to the OED "...apparently derives from a sketch by the British ‘Monty Python' comedy group, set in a cafe in which every item on the menu includes spam".

At any time of day or night websites are being visited by web-crawlers or spiders, many are harmless such as Google and other search engines as they gather information to improve their indexes based on the content of webpages, but some are simply out looking to harvest email addresses.  By typing an email address in full on a webpage makes harvesting easy.

Even if you use a hidden link they'll find it. 

So make it difficult for them, if you want to include someone's email address do so obliquely.

Spell it out: juliet.browne at


Name Email address:
Juliet Browne juliet.browne
Tom Sayers tom.sayers

Try and avoid email addresses like:  juliet at because spammers have programmes that find a domain name and then just keep guessing at first names, by including a last name you can reduce the chances of a correct guess.

Whilst our spam checkers are good and so are those used by aol, yahoo, etc, (we all constantly monitor, manage and update our software) spammers are quite ingenious and they can still occasionally sneak past defences and into our inbox.  If you reduce the number of opportunities there are to harvest your email address, or guess it, then the number of times they try to penetrate spam defences will be reduced and so, hopefully, the number of times they succeed will go down.

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