Monday, September 29, 2014

Contact Forms - Am I missing something here?

Reading through my RSS feeds this morning I came across a blogger (by following a link form someone else's blog) that I wanted to contact so I went to her/his contact page to find her/his email address but there wasn't one there. There was one of those contact forms.


Blog Contact Form

I didn't fill this in:

1. Because I didn't know who the blogger was, the about me page didn't give a name .

2.  I didn't know what would happen to my message once I submitted it.

Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Does one get a notification back to one's email address when one submits the form?

Does one have to take a screenshot of the message so one has a record?

I would prefer to contact someone by email so because it is easier for me to keep a record of any conversation that may ensue.

What do my blogging mates think?

12 comments:

Jenny Lanctot said...

Jill, those types of contact forms are pretty standard with all blogging platforms. The fact that this person didn't have a name or an "about" page is not so standard.

That being said, if this was a personal blog that has no intention of being monetized or commercialized, then I would feel pretty safe assuming that the message will simply go to that person's email and they just don't feel comfortable putting their email address out in public.

I don't like the fact that they don't have a check box to send a copy of the email to you ... that's pretty standard ... but it really looks like they just slapped something on their blog to make it so people can contact them. Sloppy? Yes. Malicious? Doubtful.

If this is a person you REALLY want to contact, I would take a screenie of your message and maybe use a "junk" email address for initial contact.

Alex Daw said...

Hi Jill - I'm with Jenny. I think it is a new widget that Blogger provides. I played around with it a month or so ago when were titivating our blogs but I didn't like it and chose another way to give people my email address. I think it's designed for people who are spam adverse but as I say when I looked at it, I wasn't convinced people would use it.

Janelle Collins said...

Thanks for the prompt to add this feature to my blog. I've had people contact me via posting comments, by providing their email address there for me to reply to.

Janelle Collins said...

Thanks for the prompt to add this feature to my blog. I've had people contact me via posting comments, by providing their email address there for me to reply to.

Crissouli said...

Jill, I don't fill in anonymous forms for anyone... or any site... but Jenny's suggestion of having a 'junk' email address is useful for many things... I have a number of them, but all are diverted to my main address eventually. I sometimes add a deliberate 'typo' so I know from which address the comment, entry, etc. originated.
I can understand hiding identities, but not omitting an About Me post with some clues.

Susie Zada said...

Hi Jill - you also made me think about my own blogs - a couple of different ones. Neither had contact details and one now has thanks to your prompting. I need to think more about the structure of both and tidy them up a little - both are combinations of Blogs and Web site. I also need to do a better job on "About Us / Me", so some housework needed and a bit of planning to do it properly.
It could also be a case of whether you're using Blogger or Wordpress or other blogs - not all give useful options and the template chosen could also impact it. When I just quickly added one to my geelonganddistrict.com blog there wasn't an option to provide a copy until I realised there were Share options which included Print or Email, therefore by default they were there. I'm not sure about the auto response - I did a test one to myself but I think I need to use another email address! :-)
So thank you for making me "rethink" and plan some housekeeping for my blog! ... Susie Zada

Jenny said...

Jill, I have a contact form on my blogs in Wordpress and the message comes through to my email address that I have set up just for blogs. That way they don't get mixed up with my general email. In the past I have had my email address on my about page and ended up with so much spam it wasn't funny. This is a better method for a private contact or people can comment which everyone who reads the blog can see.

Nev Down Under said...

Jill,

What Jenny has said is spot on. If you want to know the actual email address that the form will post it to, please email me the exact URL (full web address) of the form page & I will have a look for you.
regards Nev.

Jill Ball said...

Thanks all for your comments, I love it when a blog post elicits a conversation.

FWIW I posted this because I wanted people to think about whether using contact forms was a good idea. I don't like them, I much prefer to give people an email address to which they can respond. I use a gmail address and, considering the number of hits my blog gets, I get very little spam. If one is worried about spam then Crissouli's advice is excellent.

When providing something like contact details on our blog we must consider our users rather than ourselves and think about what form of communication may make those who want to contact us feel most comfortable.

But the bottom line is that we need to provide some way for people to contact us privately.

Cole Valley Girl said...

I use a contact form to generate contact emails rather than just publish an email address on all my websites (1) because it stops spammers harvesting my email address automatically and (2) more importantly, I can apply automated spam control tools such as Mollom.com consistently across comments, contact emails and account requests -- doing this has reduced my spam-handling workload considerably, and makes it easier for most users as they don't have to deal with the dreaded captcha unless they trigger the 'spam-warden'! Where the website software version I'm using supports it, I include an automated response and the option to to send a copy to the originator. (My oldest, personal, website is in the process of being updated and doesn't handle this yet).

Pat Richley-Erickson said...

Contact forms have been around since early Internet days in response to the invention of spam email.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Can't say I like them either Jill and would only bother with one if I really wanted to get in touch, otherwise I'd skip away.

I like the new gmail format which I have on my contact page as I think (hope?) it avoids spammers and I can't say I've seen an increase in email spam and WP takes care of the blog spam.

as to an "about me" page, I'm often surprised how often it's missing. the Blogger profile just doesn't cut it for me.

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