This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Contact form no longer protecting business websites from spam

If you have a business with a website, you have junk mail, also known as spam. And if your site has been online for many years, like mine has, you have probably used every trick possible to protect yourself, including using a contact page, which operates with a php script. I've had that type of page for over five years now, and mostly it worked to deter the robots that create spam. But in the last few months I've discovered that it no longer provides the protection it once did. So if you're wondering why you've been getting so much spam lately, even through your contact page, well, it's because the bad guys have figured out how to get around it. I guess it was just a matter of time.

I like email. My business, which is cartoon illustration, works great with email. Inquiries such as, *could you draw a cartoon of my dog?* allow me to respond right away, give a price quote, and attach samples as needed.

A sample of one of my cartoon illustrations
For now, junk mail (spam) is just a fact of business life. I suppose it will go away in the future, like telemarketers, or door-to-door salesmen, but as of 2015 it looks like we're stuck with it. And, since I want to remain in business, and not make life miserable for clients and potential clients, I will deal with it the best that I can here.

Luckily, I'm on a Mac. The Mac OS mail software, which is cleverly called *Mail*, has a pretty darn sophisticated spam filter, that learns. I haven't used it for a while, but I'm getting back to it. If you do have it, use it. As the spam messages come in, the software learns what you don't like, by watching what you click on as Junk Mail. And the idea, of course, is that after a certain time the Junk Mail never makes it into your inbox, and you never have to touch it.

So, I have set Mail to retrieve new messages every five minutes, which gives me a notification on my screen. It tells me who the message is from, and what the subject is, so I can look at a glance to see if it's something real, or just spam. If it's spam, I go to Mail, which I leave open, and click the thumbs down button, which sends it to the Junk Mail folder, and teaches mail to automatically move messages like that to that folder.

We're all in this together. I'll let you know how it goes. Some day, this will all seem funny, I'm sure.