Prevent Robots from Scraping Email Address

I have a contact form on my site but paypal pro have contacted me to say that I must write the email address as well.

What’s the best way to do this to prevent robots from grabbing it and hitting me with spam. I’d rather avoid the ‘me at hotmail dot com’ method.

What does a contact form have to do with PayPal? I’ve not used PP Pro, so maybe I’m missing something. You can easily hide your email address for standard Add to Cart code, by using a Merchant ID in place of the email address or by encrypting the entire button code while you are generating it.

Otherwise, there are some methods for obfuscating an email address on your website, but none of them are failsafe.

To use paypal pro and the merchant services they specify that your site contains certain things ie:

Address
Contact details including email
Privacy policy and some other things.

I’m not using the paypal buttons. I have paypal direct payments integrated into my checkout.

As I say, there’s no failsafe way to display an email address (even an image can be typed out by spammers), but here’s a tool I use sometimes, which is better than nothing:

Here are some other ideas:

http://techblog.tilllate.com/2008/07/20/ten-methods-to-obfuscate-e-mail-addresses-compared/

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/spam/

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/gracefulemailobfuscation/

thanks. I’m going to use the tool you linked to. Think I may just keep it up for a short while in the beginning and then remove it. Hopefully paypal won’t check back too often,

Why not pass the form to a server side script that adds the email address and then passes the result to Paypal. That way the email address doesn’t need to be in the form and Paypal still gets it.

@felgall

Sounds like PP are not amenable to that solution, which of course is the only intelligent option. (I wouldn’t expect an intelligent approach from a big company, though, especially PP. Intelligence isn’t fashionable in big business.)

I think I missed a couple of things in the prior comments.

Perhaps the safest option would be to use an email address that just goes to an autoresponder where the response that it sends back to the senders of any email it receives provides instructions for using the contact form.

Heh heh, very nice!

Unfortunately the email address has to be the same one as on my merchant account with paypal. I added it using ralp.m’s method. I’ve also contacted paypal to ask if I can remove it and explained I have a contact form which sends mail to that address. If I don’t hear back I will remove it and hopefully they won’t check back on a regular basis.

Try SPAMSTONE - and have a gif file with your address generated. It will have a redirection link leading to your real address.

It only has to display it, it doesn’t have to be an actual text email address, just use an image, I do it all the time to comply with The Companies Act in the UK which also requires that.

If you are going to display the email address as an image then perhaps set it up with a similar appearance to the CAPTCHA images that attempt to prevent spambots from being able to use OCR to extract the content.