Stop Spam WITHOUT Captcha
In today’s day and age, if you don’t have a website, it would be shocking. But, if you have a website, you should have a contact form of some kind in order for your customers to reach out to you. As such, you will undoubtedly have encountered spam. Spam can be a killer of time if nothing else. There are so many schemes out there to get you to respond to, that it is unlikely you have not been suckered in to one of them if even just for a moment.
There are a number of complex methods out there to overcome Spam which likely is not coming from a human but from Spam Bots. Spam Bots are relentless programs designed to look through websites for Contact Forms of any kind and complete the fields in the form with a preset series of answers to the fields. Most of these methods require complex integrations to add to the contact form, to ensure only humans fill them in – but it’s quite possible that at some point you’ll have put off people from filling (or being able to fill out) your form by making them decipher something like a Captcha or reCaptcha provides.
Essentially, you want to make it as easy as you can for your visitors to fill in your contact form, whilst making it as difficult as possible for Spam Bots to get through the validation. Making the validation so complex can also make it difficult to get through the form. We don’t want this to be complex.
One technique that we’ve tried at PTC Computer Solutions that we’ve tried with some of our clients as of late and we’ve seen great success with. It’s a relatively simple fix to the form that has shown promise in defeating the Spam Bots.
When putting together a form that, for example, requests name, email & company – insert a text input box and whilst sticking to your naming convention, call this something like title.
<input id=”ptc_title” type=”text” name=”ptc_title” value=”” />
<input id=”ptc_name” type=”text” name=”ptc_name” value=”” />
<input id=”ptc_email” type=”text” name=”ptc_email” value=”” />
<input id=”ptc_company” type=”text” name=”ptc_company” value=”” />
However, use CSS to make the title field invisible to users – as it’s within the HTML, it will still be seen by the Spam Bots. The Spam Bots will automatically fill in the field since it is not only the first field in the form but also that’s what Spam Bots typically do.
Then, in the script that deals with your form processing, just dismiss any form submissions where the title has been filled in:
$ptc_form_spam = $_POST[‘ptc_title’];
if ($ptc_form_spam == “”)
// process the form and send email
// mock and laugh in the face of spam bots
It’s a simple fix that should work well against Spam Bots. Some Spam Bots are sophisticated enough to figure things out, but not most. This should reduce spam emails substantially. Try it out. With the clients we’ve worked with utilizing this method, we’ve seen a nearly 100% reduction on Spam Bot emails. The best part is that you don’t receive spam and the spammers think they’ve spammed you, so everyone is happy.
If you don’t know exactly how to handle your services or your product offerings, Parker Associates has spent the last 38 years providing information to developers and builders on exactly how to do that. Contact us if you want to get down to details on how you can provide for the retiree market. We’re always available and at the ready.
PTC Computer Solutions advises businesses on technology that might help their interests. If your business is interested in getting ahead of the competition, contact us for more on how to use technology to your advantage. It’s what we do.
David WB Parker is a principal of Parker Associates of Jacksonville, Florida, marketing consultants to the real estate industry; President of PTC Computer Solutions, IT Specialist, and an active real estate sales professional with Barclay’s Real Estate Group based in Jacksonville, FL. He can be reached at 904-607-8763 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.