There seem to be several ways that can be offered to the visitor of a website to contact the webmaster online.1. write an emailname on the website.The visitors can use their own email account to send an emailmessage to the webmaster.2. make a guest book.Some websites offer guest books for free. It is possible to put a link on the website to the guestbook.3. make a form.The visitor can fill in a form. The visitor can send the form to the webmaster.The server will send the message to an email address of the webmaster.4. make a chat room.The disadvantage is that this only works when the webmaster is online at the same time with the visitor.5. put an address of a messenger program on the website.Like: msn, yahoo messenger, gmail messenger, AIM.6. host a forum.This sounds a bit overdone for usual feed back.
You can also put a "mailto:" link on your website, it's very similar to your option 1, but it opens the standard mail form of the user's PC, which could be useful.
The real problem with any of these contact methods is SPAM. I have both email and Yahoo! messenger links on my site and SPAM has been a big problem in the past. My current solution to email is to forward mail from my Xisto domain to my Hotmail account. Microsoft does a lot of SPAM filtering so almost all of the SPAM is killed before I see it. Before I started using Hotmail as a filter, it wasn’t unusual to get several hundred SPAM messages a day.
Another strategy that I have considered is to create a new semi-random email address every few months or so and use that as a contact email address. This is how the bad guys get your email address in the first place. Spammers use search crawlers similar to the Google crawler to scan webpages and forums for email and any other useful addresses. Since my site, and therefore my contact email address, is publically accessible, it is easy to grab my website email address. The email address is then put into a database which can contain millions of addresses. The spammer then uses this database to directly send SPAM or he can sell it to other spammers for a premium price. The process of crawling for emails is usually not a fast one so changing your site email every few months should significantly reduce SPAM. If you ever noticed that you never got SPAM on a new address until a few months, this works on the same principal.
The second contact method that I use is Yahoo! Messenger. I don’t publish my actual Yahoo! handle, but rather insert a mini Yahoo! Messenger chat script from Yahoo! This lets visitors see if you are online and if so, chat with you on the webpage without need to start their own Yahoo! Messenger client or even have Yahoo! Messenger installed at all. The official Yahoo! Messenger HTML plug-in can be found on the Yahoo! Messenger website, https://messenger.yahoo.com/.
Perhaps the biggest question is how much contact information you want to revel on your website. I opinion is as little as possible. Even at this, only use a separate or disposable email or Yahoo! account that is in no way connected to your mail account. This is a must as the bad guys not only want to SPAM you but also may want to steal your account or even worse. I had a separate account for my website at the time, but this really hit home when some unknown party broke into my website email and then started sending SPAM. Nothing of value was lost but my account was sending SPAM and phishing messages to hundreds of other users a day. I assume they used a brute force password attack so I changed the account password to something much stronger and the problem stopped.
Bottom line is that you shouldn’t publish any information on your site that you don’t want to be archived forever or anyone else to see. Don’t use your main email account and remember that you have now voluntarily entered yourself into a war between “us” and “them.”
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