Last time I quoted that study that we refer to in the
acronyms/#PCYMTNQREAIYR entry at someone, someone pointed out that it was a
few years old now (survey done in summer 2k2), and asked if spammers haven't
gotten any cleverer by now?
Of course, we know the answer to the second part of that question. (Rule #1
in full effect.) But we don't know for sure whether addy-munging still works.
... until now! The FTC has just gone and conducted a similar study, and,
despite the fact that there _is_ harvesting software that can decode the
pattern "x DOT y AT z DOT com" into the equivalent email address, it seems
that spammers just don't use it (Rule #1 _again_), and it is still by far and
away the vastly most effective method of protecting your inbox from spam.
From the Reg's summary of the FTC's report:-
" Masking email addresses proved to be the single most effective step in
preventing the dummy accounts the FTC created from bombardment by junk emails.
After five weeks, unmasked email addresses had received more than 6,400 pieces
of spam, while the masked email addresses had received only one piece of spam.