Late last week I received a surprising email message from Apple. Due to the EU Omnibus Directive (2019/2161), which focuses on consumer protection legislation, I (as a content author based in the United States) am now subject to corresponding obligations in certain affected countries. If you sell e-books, audio books or multimedia books (like me), you are affected even if you are not European.
For this reason, we now need to extend our website (which in my case I never had to avoid spambots) with a special kind of contact web page and provide a direct link to it. Otherwise, our content will no longer be offered for sale in these European countries. Below I’ll cover the 6-step approach I used to comply with Apple Books and the EU Omnibus Directive (2019/2161) while being ultra-resistant to spambots.
Apple Books and the requirements of the EU Omnibus Directive (2019/2161).
The email message from Apple states that I (we) now have a full link (starting with the https:// protocol, ie https://yourwebsite.com/kundenservice/ ) to a page that contains:
- A legal address (I already had one posted on my main business website)
- A phone number (I already had one business phone number – virtual phone system on my business website)
- A bare email address (something I never had for reasons covered in the next section)
Why I’ve Never Had a Naked Email Address on My Websites
The general consensus among many (but not all) web developers and many (but not all) business owners is that we should avoid sharing a bare email address on a website for at least two reasons:
- Allowing a bare email address makes it vulnerable to spambots. (Per Wikipedia: “A spambot is a computer program designed to help send spam.” Spambots constantly scan the Internet for email addresses in order to add them to a list.)
- When people access your contact page from a friend’s computer, hotel computer, or library computer, it’s not helpful to just share a bare email address because clicking on it will either use your friend’s email (not yours) as the reply address for a Message enabled…or this is trying to trigger a default email client program not yet configured.
Instead, I always had a contact form.
How to be compliant with Apple Books and the EU Omnibus Directive (2019/2161) while being ultra-resistant to spambots
The instructions below will work whether your website is built with WordPress or not, and whether it is hosted with it or not CombinedHosting.com.
- Create a new dedicated contact page that is not listed in your normal menu navigation (ex https://yourwebsite.com/kundenservice/ ).
- Configure this particular page to be ignored (not indexed) by search engines using standard web development techniques.
- Add your legal address and phone number.
- Create an alias email to your normal one, ie [email protected]
- Encode the email address created in step 4 above using a service like Email-encoder.com and paste the encoded version as raw HTML where you want the email to appear on the page. The encrypted version will look extremely long, but the end result will be the normal length of an email address.
- If you’re happy with how the unlisted page looks and works, please provide the full link to Apple to continue selling your content in affected countries.
The above process will also serve if/when other content distribution platforms require it in the future i.e. Amazon, Google, Kobo and others. Note that the above suggestions and techniques are designed to stop most spambots, not human spammers. Human spammers can even get past a content form, although they can’t database at least the address on a contact form.
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Most of my current books can be found at books.AllanTepper.com and also visit AllanTepper.com and radio.AllanTepper.com.
There are currently no financial relationships between Apple and Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC, except that Allan Tépper and TecnoTur LLC receive royalties and that Apple’s Latin America and the Caribbean hired Allan Tépper/TecnoTur LLC to perform technical translations many years ago. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above are sponsors of the TecnoTur, Beyond podcasting, CapicúaFM or TuSaludSecreta programs, although they are welcome to do so and some are (or have been) sponsors. ProVideo Coalition Magazine. Some third-party links included in this article and/or on this website may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC through affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinion is his own. Allan Tépper is not responsible for any misuse or misunderstanding of any information he shares.