Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Easy to contact

I feel strongly that this:

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/10/promiscuous-dispersal-of-your-email-address.html

is true.

If you search my forums, you will notice I occasionally ask people to email me at
cliff@positech.co.uk
. I don’t use a NOSPAM or an image or try and get you to do some algebra before you get to see the mailto link.

People email me for a few reasons:

1) They are in the business and want to sell my games/do a deal/review my games/interview me

2) They have technical support issues

3) They hate me and want to tell me

4) They like my games and want to tell me

Only a stupid businessperson would not want to read 1) and 2).

3) is easily laughed at and deleted.

4) makes me feel good.

oh and….

5) Spam.

99% of spam is filtered out by spam filters. the other 1% is trivially spotted and deleted. I don’t think the odd click of the delete button is a hard price to pay to enable the people who play my games to get to contact the developer when they have to. I don’t respond to EVERY email, but I do read them.

Why don’t big companies do this?


14 thoughts on Easy to contact

  1. You should be able to do a simple html anchor tag and have it just work. e.g.

    cliff@positech.co.uk

    That said, I’d be rather surprised if my comment worked in the same way. Also (irony of ironies) I expect this comment to get blocked by a blog comment spam filter.

  2. Easy way – make an image with your email – no spam, but contact is still available.
    You can also try some sort of JS.

  3. To answer your question: Large companies don’t do it because it doesn’t scale well. You need to have talented, warm, intelligent, sensitive, thoughtful people answering or routing the emails, and you never ever get praised for doing it right — people only call your attention to the places where you screw up, usually embarrassingly.

    For a wonderful, glaring example of a normally customer-focused company falling on it’s face when you try to put human judgment in the loop, look at Apple’s app store.

  4. I prefer forms for contacting businesses. What annoys me more than anything is the assumption that the email client invoked by a mailto link is my email client.

    I use many computers and many of them are not mine, and many don’t have email installed, and many have an email client install that I simply do not want to use to contact the business.

    All businesses should use forms primarily in my opinion, and that form should optionally email you at the email address you use from an address that is real so you can follow up later if you want to, or did not get a response.

    If you want to stick a mailto on there as well, go ahead – but consider all use cases, not just the most obvious one.

  5. I think the preference for a link and not a form is that the form hides the email address,. You cant forward it to someone, or add it to your address book easily, and you are never really sure if the form worked, whereas you can stick a read receipt on an email.
    But even a form is better than nothing, which is what most companies have.
    I say this as someone who got an email from google today from “noreply@google.com” telling me how to maximise my ad-campaign, but they have failed to reply to any of my attempts to contact them for weeks.
    Google want a one-way conversation with me, and I don’t want that…

  6. Big companies ‘find’ customers by constantly ramming advertising down throats of everyone on the planet, whether they want their services or not. An email address isnt going to get them any more customers, all it does is provide their existing customers with a channel to complain about their substandard product, so what’s the point of that?

    Cynical, moi?

  7. I wish 99% of my spam was filtered! With web mail I probably find about 95% of it is, but with Thunderbird it’s only about 70%, meaning I have to hand-delete hundreds of spam mails per day. This compares poorly to the 4 or 5 legitimate emails that I get per week. Besides which there is the issue of false positives – I don’t have time to check my spam folder for legitimate mail.

    I agree with being easily reachable, but I would try and use a less easily abused system for it, such as a web form.

  8. Could not agree more. I spent half a day trying to contact a company that makes a product I use ..and I wanted to buy the new version from them.

    But ultimately gave up in frustration. It turned out to be easier to find a hacked copy on the net than it was to buy the product.

    You know you are doing something wrong when a returning customer with cash in hand turn to wares sites because your web business is so poorly implemented.

  9. For spam, you can use a mail app that displays your messages in plain text (I use thunderbird). This way the hidden “counter” on the spam message doesn’t get triggered and your safe. If you don’t have plain text capability, NEVER open up a spam (so be careful on clicking it to delete it). I’ve basically had no spam for 2 years… really. So that’s that for killing spam :)

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