As many of you know, I have been fighting spam for a long time. We all get it and we all hate it. How does spam "happened"? Well basically there exist programs out there that look for emails on the internet. These programs are sometimes called robots, engines, ferrets, and others. The programmer instructs them to visit a page and all of its links... and then any links off of any of those pages... and links from those pages. Get the picture? The programs bounce from page to page reading the text and raw HTML. Most are set to record anything to do with the '@' sign, ie emails. This is how a lot of spammers get your email. Now, before you view robots/ferrets negatively, I have to tell you search engines use them to find webpages. Yahoo, Lycos, Hotbot, and all the other search sites have these programs surfing and indexing webpages based on what's written on them. So, there is a good use for these programs.


I chose to post emails on my webpages because it allowed friends, family, and myself access to these whenever we needed them. In the "old" days of the internet (5 years ago, hehe) I used to post a warning that the emails listed were not for spamming purposes and were private. This seemed to work early on in a community just starting to really grow. I had read articles that most spammers had programmed their robots to skip pages with any mention of spam on it. It is my belief that they did not want to anger anyone. Plus, anonymous emails were hard to come by back then, which made it harder for a spammer to hide. Then the internet exploded and the non-geeks started using it, such as sales and marketing people. Not everyone in sales is a lowlife, but there are a fair share of them. Suddenly, I had several complaining that they were getting spam and my page was the only one that listed their email. So, I put an 'x' in front of all my emails. This way spam was sent to xjoe@mail.com, rather than joe@mail.com. This worked great... for awhile. Late last year I talked to someone who stated that web ferrets (those programs) were now being programmed to skip any ambiguous characters in front of emails (like x, q, etc.). So I looked for a new way to hide my emails (while letting me use them). I considered printing them in a .gif file and then displaying it. But that took too long to load and was hard to update. I then found a technique where the email is converted to hex code. Hex is a 16 digit number system and code used by computers. What may look like Greek to you (and the robots), is easily read and converted by browsers. I decided to try it. I did an experiment by setting up 2 emails, one plain, and one coded. It made a difference, but spam was still getting through, which meant there were some real sophisticated robots out there reading the hex code.

However, I am writing to announce that I have found a way... I HAVE WON!!!