A program (spider, bot, crawler) on the Internet that gathers e-mail addresses to send spam to. There are countless e-mail addresses on Web site "contact us" pages as well as on blogs and newsgroups. Since they are typically coded in the "mailto" format, which when clicked, causes the address to open an e-mail message window, they are easily located (see mailto:).
In order to prevent a spambot from automatically identifying an e-mail address, some Web sites print the address as text and not a clickable mailto: link. Another maneuver is to spell out the symbols with the words "at" and "dot;" for example, "joe at computerlanguage dot com." This requires the user to correct the address by inserting the @ sign and period before sending. A more elaborate approach is to make the address really obtuse (see e-mail obfuscator). See spam, form spam and bot.
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