Our website does some basic obfuscation (foo at example dot org) for email addresses on web pages visible to the general public, but doesn't do so for PDF documents. Is it common for email harvesters to extract addresses from PDFs?

(In case anyone's interested, the email addresses aren't that valuable - they're an alias such as [email protected], rather than the person's real email address)

  • 4
    I have no concrete evidence, but I'd guess that the answer is "some won't, some might". By the way, I'd be surprised if most harvesters by now weren't smart enough to deobfuscate "user at example dot com". Commented Apr 21, 2012 at 12:42
  • Can you copy and paste the email address in the PDF, or is it an image. Either way I would imagine it possible to run OCR on the PDF, although this would slow the scanner considerably.
    – gpresland
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


Google does read in your PDFs, even the spammers do!

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