Steele 'at' wharton 'dot' upenn 'dot' edu --- NOT!

In the days before good email spam filters, people took desperate measures to cut down on the crap that would come into their mail boxes. One of the devices that they tried was to cloak their email addresses in a way that humans could understand but which phishing bots (perhaps) could not.

Thus, one finds the "prof 'at' stat 'dot' uni 'dot' edu" style of email address, or in the case of my dear colleague Andreas Buja, one finds the almost unique two-stage process that begins with the cloaker:

www-stat dawt wharton dawt upenn dawt edu slash tilde buja

Not only does it avoid spam, it avoids contact from the Dean's office, people looking for letters of reference, and old college friends.

Personally, these are people I want to hear from.

By the way, I assume that "dawt" is Swiss for dot.

Naturally, what Andreas offers is not an email address, but a URL for Andreas's home page. If you go there, you will find a morphed image of Andreas's email. You can then write this down with a pencil --- and then email Andreas.

I suggest that you say, "Dude ...don't you love us anymore?"

Try this experiment!

If you have your email cloaked on your web page, put your real email address into a Google search. You will almost certainly get from 20 to hundreds of hits.

The bottom line is that your cloaking will save you at most 5 percent of your spam mail problems. Moreover, if you have a good spam filter, you should have very little problem anyway. I have no spam problem and I slather my web address and email all over the internet without a second's though.

George Soros might have a different experience, but academics are pretty safe. Even those few who share the same name as a charismatic (former) congressman have few worries.

News You Can Use

At a cost of facing perhaps two additional spam mails per month, you can make it much easier for your friends to write to you. Isn't this a bargain?

I like to hear from you anytime you care to write, so you can find almost any place you look, such as my Contact page.

Up-date --- Summer '07

Well, by golly, the new PDF spams have almost made me want to repent. The Spammers just have a title like "Internal Report" and then they attach a PDF with their spam. There are too few words for them to get snagged by the usual spam filters.

After a very irritating summer, the PDF spams seem to have gone away. They were probably snagged by "honey pots" set out by the anti-spam firms. Hence, I don't have to renege on my stand about posting ones email in the most user-friendly way possible.

Still, it was a close call.

Navigation: Back to Steele's Rant Page, or his Home Page, or Surprise Me!