[uf-discuss] Microformats search engine: virel

Angus McIntyre angus at pobox.com
Mon Jul 7 13:56:49 PDT 2008

Ameer Dawood wrote:
> look what happened now. I jusst got the same kind of email. Looks like
they are sending emails to email addresses found in hCards. *It's just
like spam. I just dropped them a mail saying so.

As a hardliner on this issue, my feeling is that any sentence that reads
"that's {like/almost like/a kind of/close to/etc} spam" can be reduced to
"that's spam" without loss of meaning or accuracy.

The issue of spam and microformats is a dead horse that's already taken a
fair amount of punishment, and I think the words "out of scope" were used
last time the question came up. Still, I wanted to add a couple of

As far as consumers of microformats are concerned, I think that any system
that generates automated mail to an address included in an hCard has
crossed the line. Outside various rather improbable scenarios, there's no
justification for doing this.

As far as users of microformats are concerned, the choice is (a) include
your address and expect to get spam, (b) leave your address out, or (c)
obscure your address. I currently favor options (b) and (c). For (c), I
actually recommend having a human-intelligible version (e.g. 'myaddress at
example dot com') and then - if you like - having a run-on-document-ready
Javascript function to convert it to a mailto: link for human consumption.

Crawlers - both benign and malign - typically don't execute JS, so they
won't see the actual email address. I don't think that's a bad thing for
reasons indicated above. Tools that actually run in a browser context,
such as Operator, should get the right result (Operator does).



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