22/02/2013

ROBOTS AND BLANK EMAILS

Robots or (bots), as we call them in web speak, are really computer programs that are written to explorer the web. That means to go to a URL (website) and click everything in sight and see what results it gets. Normally this is just text but can be pictures or vulnerabilities of the website. The program (bot) will catalogue its findings and report them back to the originator. For example Google has a bot called GoogleBot.

The issue can be, if (for example) you have a website that has an enquiry button on each item or property that, when clicked, generates an email response, from the website response form, the website owner, this could mean EVERY item in the list effectively generates an undesired blank email due to the bot merrily clicking away.

The solution in most cases in to use a method to discover if the (thing or person) that is clicking the button is actually a human. The most common method of doing this is by using a CAPTCHA image. This is a image that can not easily be read but humans normally find pretty easy to read. Then if the CAPTCHA key is input correctly the form will send else you (the website owner) will not be bothered, saving the annoyance.

Some website owners don’t mind occasionally deleting a bunch of unwanted emails and therefore don’t have a CAPTCHA image (or similar).

The downside can be that because there is another thing in the way of a real customer making an enquiry i.e. the CAPTCHA image – which some may find hard to see or use – this could stop the odd real customer making that enquiry.

Waying up the inconvenience of excess emails against possibly losing a real customer are yours to decide.

We can install a CAPTCHA image system on most websites (depending on website and technology) for around £45 to £90.

If you are already a customer and want to add a CAPTCHA to your website please do not hesitate to drop us a line on email or give us a call.

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