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The script gives page a name, usually randomly picked from a database or made up somehow, and fills it with a few dozen (at most) email addresses. These email addresses are cleverly created to appear perfectly valid but actually are useless - they are just made up.
Links to other fake pages are created for spam harvester to follow. Any robot (or human being, for that matter) that follow these links will find similar pages, full of desirable email addresses.
Depending upon robot, it's possible spammer could gather tens of thousands of totally fake, unusable email addresses before his robot blows itself out of water. It's even better if robot survives, as spammer now wastes his time sending messages to nonexistent email addresses.
In meantime, harvester has been lured away from valid pages which may or may not contain email addresses.
My site, Internet Tips and Secrets, uses one of these poison pills. It is called wpoison and it really works well. If you want to see it, look at this page.
If you want to get a copy for yourself, check out wpoison page.
This is just another weapon in war against spam.
Is it effective?
I know from personal experience that it does trap spam robots, and it does seem to lure them away from real, useful email addresses.
Is it ethical?
I believe so, as long as you are careful to include meta tags to inform "good" robots to leave pages alone as well as some text to let your visitors know what's going on.
It's not as satisfying as spamcop.net, and there is no where near that pleasant glow of success upon learning that some scum spammer has had his ISP cancel his account, but poison pill is useful nonetheless. My advice is to include it in your arsenal along with other weapons and tools at your disposal.
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