Hack 39 Hide Your Email Address from Spammers

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Use your PayPal referral ID to prevent your email address from being harvested by spammers.

Spam (unsolicited bulk email) is a growing problem for Internet users, especially for those who have web sites that can be spidered by spambots looking for email addresses. The HTML generated by the PayPal Button Factory contains the email address listed in your PayPal account, making it available to address harvesters. Prevent this potential misuse by replacing your email address with your referral ID (also known as the affiliate ID).

This hack does not work with the HTML code generated for the PayPal Shopping Cart [Hack #45] . It also doesn't support encrypted buttons [Hack #37], although buttons protected by encryption are already well-protected from spammers.

To implement this fix, you need to obtain your referral ID from the PayPal web site and then edit your HTML button code, substituting the referral ID for your email address.

To obtain your referral ID from PayPal, click the Referrals link at the bottom of any PayPal page. You will see a text box with a URL in it, which will look something like https://www.paypal.com/mrb/pal=ABC1DEF2GHIJK. Your referral ID is the part of the URL after pal=; in this case, the referral ID is ABC1DEF2GHIJK.

To put the referral ID in place of your email address, open the web page that contains the button in a text or HTML editor and find the all sections of code that look like this:

<input type="hidden" name="business" value="youremail@yourisp.com">

Replace your email address with your referral ID, like this:

<input type="hidden" name="business" value="ABC1DEF2GHIJK">

You will need to do this for each button on your site. Your buttons will operate normally, and your customers won't know the difference.

Keep in mind that this hack does not provide anonymity. Buyers will still see your email address in the process of making a payment.