Unfortunately, the days of real people harvesting email addresses are still here.
In some countries people are cheap and criminal gangs don’t give a damn anyway so force real people to harvest emails. Some even go so far as to try and access all files, even .PHP held on your domain’s servers. The really professional criminals have probably hacked many hosting providers sites years ago.
Now, as Sparkle users you will running on a Mac. How many of you use Mail? Quite a few. How many of you still have a check mark next to “Load remote content in messages”?
That remote content can be much more than logos or pretty pictures! At best the sending server gets an acknowledgement that your email address is real. Here is an example (edited) of remote content tracking information tagged on the end of an image URL from a recent email:
Uncheck that “Load remote content” option in the Mail preferences and you have started to fight back against the spammers.
The other thing to do is to check your email addresses on https://haveibeenpwned.com. This site will tell you if an email has been harvested in a data breach. You can then decide if it’s still worth using that address!
The trouble is we want people to contact us and the harder we make it the less likely they are to do so.
Forms are not ideal but are probably the best method out there and Sparkle makes them easy.