obfuscatr is the email address obfuscator. Its purpose is to obfuscate the email address in a way it couldn’t be reached by the bots crawling the web for emails.

DISCLAIMER: Apple discontinued Dashboard in macOS Catalina. obfuscatr widget can not be installed on newer macOS versions.1

By the latest studies over 97% of the spam is sent to addresses that have been posted on public websites. Such addresses are naked.

Naked email stands for an email that is readable by various bots, including Googlebot. So email harvesting bots, that grab the email for a spammer, don’t even have to reach the site the email resides but rather get it from Google.

A lot of people prevent that by posting their email addresses like me [at] mydomain.com or just replace the @ sign with a graphic. Does it help? Well, if it’s a bot, automated tool relying on programming, would it be that hard to modify its search criteria to also match the addresses formatted as me [at] mydomain.com? Please also note that spamming has a fully commercial background these days.

But let’s think different. Any web developer familiar with Search Engine Optimization techniques should know that Googlebot doesn’t fancy client-side scripting, e.g. Javascript. So any content that is being rendered client-side would be skipped by Googlebot. That is exactly a half of what obfuscatr does to an email — it provides you with a script that is rendered client-side. Another half consists of hexadecimal encoding.

To use obfuscatr just paste or type in your email, click ‘Obfuscate!’ and it will generate you a code that you can use on a web without exposing the email. To a visitor it will look proper. To a bot — not really.

obfuscatr is available as a Dashboard widget for Mac OS X users. Users on other platforms can obfuscate emails online.