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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot barleytwist's Avatar
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    Hiding Telephone numbers on a webpage

    How can I obscure a telephone number from harvesting bots (or whatever they're called) like one can with an email address? Or is it necessary?

  2. #2
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    If it is in the web page where people can see it then the bots can too. If you don't want bots to see it then don't place it in a page the bots can access.
    Stephen J Chapman

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    <input name="html5" type="text" required pattern="^$">

  3. #3
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    I guess you could at least use an image; although, since real people can read it, they can then do with it what they please.

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    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    I guess you could at least use an image; although, since real people can read it, they can then do with it what they please.
    True, i've done something like this before

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    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    I guess you could at least use an image; although, since real people can read it, they can then do with it what they please.
    unless of course they are blind and use speech output for using a computer
    Ryan B | My Blog | Twitter

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot barleytwist's Avatar
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    That leaves me thinking that I will leave off the national code bit (01925 UK No.) and put it at the end as "zero, one, nine, two, nine.

    What about that idea?

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    You could say country/national code 01925 at the end, if somebody doesn't know the code and is blind they may get confused on what the random numbers are. Or you could use html entities for numbers.
    Ryan B | My Blog | Twitter

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    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    If the spammer can read it in the page then they can add it into their autodialer. Just because their spambot isn't able to extract the phone number automatically doesn't mean it can't tell there is a phone number there and report the page for manual extraction.
    Stephen J Chapman

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    <input name="html5" type="text" required pattern="^$">

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    I'm thinking it would make little sense to spend time and money to build a bot which harvests phone numbers, when an autodialer can easily go through every possible phone number.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
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  10. #10
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    It might if you wanted to target a specific industry.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Fair enough - but then, wouldn't it be easier to find the numbers on the websites yourself, rather than writing a bot which can analyse a websites contents to figure out which industry it belongs to?
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  12. #12
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    Fair enough - but then, wouldn't it be easier to find the numbers on the websites yourself, rather than writing a bot which can analyse a websites contents to figure out which industry it belongs to?
    It quite possibly would be easier to do just that. In which case any attempt to hide the phone number from bots would be even more pointless.
    Stephen J Chapman

    javascriptexample.net, Book Reviews, follow me on Twitter
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    <input name="html5" type="text" required pattern="^$">

  13. #13
    SitePoint Zealot barleytwist's Avatar
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    I have put the final (local) part of the number next to the respective position and the national code elsewhere. I seemed to have been worrying about nothing as I thought there were harvesters out there. A reader would pick up the first part before the rest.

  14. #14
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say there aren't harvesters out there, because there are, however the chances are you are unlikely to get spammed via the phone because in the UK the telephone networks are much more restrictive about people who start mass dialling phone numbers, in fact the network operator would more than likely involve the police in cases of fraud or autodialing sales services. I know BT would dump them on one of those call blocking systems so it would be filtered.

  15. #15
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barleytwist View Post
    How can I obscure a telephone number from harvesting bots (or whatever they're called) like one can with an email address? Or is it necessary?
    I don't think it's necessary. I have had my mobile phone number on a website periodically for several years, and I get very few unwanted calls on it. I doubt that those are down to the website, because I was getting them beforehand as well!


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