Many users and forum programs in attempt to make automatic e-mail address harvesting harder modify them replacing @ character with "at" and . character with "dot".

So that

[email protected]


team at example dot com

Is there any special term for this practice?

  • 1
    Wow. Using other people's email address in a question about munging... (Changed to example.com as per RFC 2606, hoping bots don't get into the revisions.)
    – Arjan
    Oct 13, 2009 at 13:38
  • Is this really such a problem? The original address has been on each page of this site for ages. That's specifically why I chose it - it's already here.
    – sharptooth
    Oct 14, 2009 at 12:15

4 Answers 4


As well as obfuscation, it is often referred to less formally as "munging".



Obfuscation is the concealment of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, intentionally ambiguous, and more difficult to interpret.

Edit: Of course, in this case we're talking about making the communication confusing for spambots, and not for humans.

  • Y3s 1nd33d.
    – Maxwell
    Aug 11, 2009 at 9:36
  • Well it can be a little confusing for humans too. It's easier to skim some text looking for "x@y" than "x at y". Aug 11, 2009 at 14:03

Anti-Spambot Encoding ?

Of course the opposite then would be 'Anti-spambot Decoding' ;-)

But on a more serious note: I think @David is right with his 'munging'.
Even more specifically: Address munging would be the right term (according to Wikipedia).


I'd consider it a form of CAPTCHA. The Turing test being not so much the transformation "at"==@ and "dot"=dot, but finding and recognizing such disguised email addresses in a text that contains lots of other "at"s and perhaps even a few "dot"s.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .