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Email Form Woes

By Heshy Friedman


Today it is standard practice for websites to contain an email form on their contact pages. The forms contain basic information fields, and allow website owners not to have to post their emails publicly on their website. Contact forms are the recommended method for a company to have people contact them via email, rather than posting their email address publicly on a web page.

Having an email address posted
on a public web page allows spam bots to harvest the email address and add it to their spam list. These nefarious web crawlers are set up by Internet trolls to scan website pages for any email addresses, and when they find one they add it to their database to send out spam. Emails listed on a web page also provide unwanted solicitors to gain access to your company’s email address.

Although email contact forms are fairly simple
to set up on a website, they often cause headaches when email is managed on an external server. In order to prevent spammers from hijacking an email address and sending out bogus emails through a form, many email servers require authentication to require an email form to validate the email account it is using prior to sending it via a password.

While authentication is indeed necessary
to stop spam in many cases, it creates difficulties for the programmer when setting up a form, since the programmer has to coordinate with the person who manages the email or IT infrastructure to get this working. This can be a frustrating process, since the people who hold the keys are sometimes not competent in this area and they can’t provide the correct information, or they are not helpful with troubleshooting. Each email server has its own set of authentication values and policies, and getting the proper info can be frustrating since you are relying on others who don’t necessarily understand what you need or are reluctant to work with you.


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