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One purpose of a church website is to allow people to easily contact the church with queries, especially if they have had no previous contact.

We might prefer potential guests to use the phone, but people find email useful simple queries that they can submit anytime. And as churches, we want to encourage a connection every way we can.

When you list the email address on the church website though, there is a problem. This is because, spammers can then see it and add it to their databases. They can do this either manually or more likely in an automated fashion. When a church contact email receives many spam, it becomes harder to deal with and busy staff can mean that false positives are not checked on a regular basis.

A List Apart has an article called Graceful E-Mail Obfuscation, which looks at the history of techniques to fox spammers and what can be done now.

The article particularly looks at the issue of user-friendliness, because adding ‘REMOVE-ME’ to an email address is at best inconvenient for a user. And as churches, we do want to encourage people to contact us as much as possible.

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