Email obfuscation is an attempt to make an email address difficult for spam bots to harvest and begin spamming. There are two forms of obfuscation: manual obfuscation and HTML-code obfuscation. In manual obfuscation, the user manually breaks up their email address using text that a human can easily read and decode but that wouldn’t form a valid address a spam bot could harvest. Thus, an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org might be written like someguy AT somehost DOT org; a human could read that but it wouldn’t register as an email address if a bot was scanning for a typical *@*.* email address format.
The other type of obfuscation, HTML-code obfuscation, relies on using the HTML codes for letters, numbers, and symbols (as opposed to plaintext) in order to throw bots off. Thus the same email@example.com would appear (in the HTML code of the web page) as
firstname.lastname@example.org. The benefit for this method is that it’s easily read by humans with no amount of decoding and ignored by all but the most sophisticated spambots.
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 11/11/13