Using a firstname.lastname@example.org address on a blog’s “contact us” page seems to encourage far more people to email than posting the address of a free e-mail account.
The page in question here is GameMaker Blog’s contact us page. The page is short but contains contact details to which people can send Game Maker news tips. It currently contains my personal MSN/WLM address, a link to the GMB Twitter, a button to send me a private message at the official Game Maker forum and an e-mail address – “philip.gamble (please spell my name correctly!) @gamemakerblog.com”.
I set up the email address a couple of months back which took at most two minutes including setting up forwarding to and sending from my gmail account. It seems to have encouraged more and higher quality emails (and yes multiple targeted unsolicited requests from a certain download site).
I considered a few reasons why the new email address has had a better response rate:
- More professional – makes the site seem less ‘fly by night’ I presume (though we are 3 years old). Maybe even gives the impression that the organisation is bigger/more powerful/part of a larger network.
- Replaced what is effectively junk with a readable name – the previously displayed email address (freeg131@) would probably be seen as meaningless rubbish to most people who might think it looks spammy.
- Personal – a real name contact. People believe that their message will be read and dealt with as opposed to a general email@example.com
I could experiment with an on page “email us” form. I use one of these on another site where I judge the average user to be considerably less tech-savvy than a bunch that are making their own games. However I fear this might encourage pointless, poor quality messages by making it just too easy to send me a message – and of course people could fill in a fake ‘from’ address which would benefit no one.
If you run your own website and currently have a free e-mail address posted on it I would highly recommend you change to a firstname.lastname@example.org address.