Maine State Government
Dept. of Administrative & Financial Services
Office of Information Technology
BEST PRACTICE FOR THE HANDLING OF
EMAIL ADDRESSES ON MAINE STATE WEBSITES
A significant source for SPAM is the successful harvesting
of email addresses from web sites. Maintainers of web sites are encouraged to
minimize the disclosure of internal email addresses.
Establishes best practice guidelines for limiting exposure
of agency email addresses from SPAM robot harvesting in order to implement the
Policy to Minimize Delivery of Unwanted Commercial Electronic Messages
throughout Maine State Government.
This best practice applies to all websites generated by any
A. Compliance - All staff engaged
in the creation, updating, and maintaining agency websites are responsible for
becoming familiar, and implementing the contents of this best practice.
Webmasters and vendors are responsible for incorporating standard operating
procedures to ensure their staffs are familiar with, and adhere to the best
practices regarding email address handling and SPAM reduction.
B. Review - There is no compliance
Guidelines & Procedures
A. The best practices for email
address handling and SPAM reduction process is outlined below.
1. Webmasters shall evaluate all current instances
of mailto links or plain text email addresses on their agency’s website(s), in
order to replace individual’s email addresses with general contact forms. Email
addresses and mailto links that are not necessary shall be removed.
2. For cases where an electronic contact method for
one or more individuals is required, State websites shall use an HTML contact
form instead of a mailto email link. Webmasters may use the conversion solution
provided by InforME or they may create a customized form. Note: In addition to
changing the link, the text should also be changed so that the email address is
not posted in the text of the page. Recommended link text: “Contact [Name]”.
3. If neither of the above will meet the needs of
the agency for a particular case, a possible last resort solution which
minimizes access to State addresses to spammers, may be to post a mailto link
to an email address after using a standard Email Encoder provided by InforME.
Note that the email encoder provides some level of protection but is not
entirely effective at preventing harvesting of the address for SPAM. There are
also some potential usability issues with this method for users on public
4. In no instances should a non-encoded mailto
link to a state email address or a plain text state email address be posted on
a public website.
5. These requirements apply to Maine state
government email addresses. For non-state government email addresses that may
be posted on an agency website, it is recommended that the agency explain the
spam ramifications of posting email addresses, to the non-state government
individual/entity. They will be encouraged to choose SPAM-prevention methods.
B. Process/Implementation - The best practices for Email Address
Handling on Maine State Websites for SPAM Prevention will be handles by one of
the following methods:
- convert mailto links to the InforME supplied HTML contact form. Webmasters
may substitute a specially formatted link in place of a mailto link. The new
link will automatically direct the user to the standard contact form. The
submitted form data will be sent to the email address designated by the agency
via special code in the link. After submitting the form, the user will be
redirected to a “thank you” page and provided a link back to the originating
agency page. The standard contact form includes an optional checkbox for the
user to choose to receive a copy of their message.
2. Good – Use the
InforME supplied standard email encoder tool on the Webmaster Resource Center. Webmasters will use this simple web interface to put in a normal email address
and get back the encoded version that should be used for the site link. The
encoder converts an email address to standard ASCII characters.
- Generally unwanted, unsolicited email. See Policy to Minimize Delivery of
Unwanted Commercial Electronic Messages throughout Maine State Government for
an expanded definition.
to Link - A method to allow a person viewing a webpage to click on the link and
send email to a specified address.
Contact Form - A form presented on a web page that allows the user to send an
email message to an agency employee without placing the employee’s email
address into the public forum.
Master - The person responsible for maintaining and updating an agency’s
of Maine Email Policy
to Minimize Delivery of Unwanted Commercial Electronic Messages throughout Maine State Government http://www.maine.gov/oit/oitpolicies/index.htm
1. Document Reference Number: 3.1
2. Category: Internet, Network and Transport
3. Adoption Date: August 10, 2006
4. Effective Date: August 10, 2006
5. Review Date: August 10, 2009
6. Point of Contact: Paul Sandlin, eGovernment Services,
Office of Information Technology, (207) 624-9427
7. Approved By: Richard B.
Thompson, Chief Information Officer
8. Position Title(s) or Agency Responsible for Enforcement:
9. Legal Citation:
10. Waiver Process: