Embrace spam? That’s what I said, but I don’t mean you should become a spammer. I meant you should open your inbox to spam and let it flow in. You should definitely get rid of the Captcha box on your “contact us” form. Why? Because there are some people for whom a Captcha box is enough of a barrier that they simply won’t contact you.

I publish my email address everywhere. Out in the open. I don’t do the “contact me at josh at mwi dot com” thing to prevent bots from scraping my email address. I put it out there for every scraper and bot to harvest and put on its spam list. Any time I use an email form, the person just needs to fill it in and click submit. There is no verification that the person submitting the form is a human being and not a bot. I do this because I want to make the experience as easy as possible for my potential client. Why would I want to create a barrier that might keep them from reaching out to me?

What does this cost me? Not much, really. I use Google Enterprise Apps, aka Gmail, for our corporate email. No, I don’t have an email address, I host on Apps, which means I get access to the Gmail interface, but I’m able to use my own domain. I love it. And Gmail does an amazing job at filtering out spam. Yes, sometimes there are false positives, but I’ve set a rule so I don’t lose any emails from prospective clients who use the email form on our website. Those emails are tagged with certain words in the subject line so that I can prevent them from going to my spam filter. There’s a slight chance emails that don’t go through the form, but directly to my email address, could get caught in the spam filter, but it’s rare. I’m sure whatever I may have lost there, is far less than I would have lost if I had a Captcha box at the end of the email form on our website.