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contact us. or don't
lucy24




msg:4640355
 10:41 pm on Jan 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have a minor but ongoing headscratcher. Logs tell me that most humans who visit the Contact page don't end up sending a message. (I specify "humans" because there's a long-running botnet whose pattern includes the contact page. Different issue.) I worried briefly that my ISP was eating their mail-- it's pretty inept at identifying spam-- but this doesn't seem to be the case: when you click Send, there's a separate POST request* in logs. Or there isn't, if they don't proceed to this stage.

Question: What are they looking for? Are they finding it, or failing to find it? I've never seen a contact page that said anything in particular; it's just boilerplate with a form in the middle. I hope they're not looking for a public Comments area like on blogs, because this is not happening.


* Irrelevant aside: I tested this in the middle of a weekend night, and I am not a high-traffic site at the best of times. But within the less than thirty seconds it took for me to fill out the form and send myself an email, the bingbot managed to slip in and ask for robots.txt. Figures.

 

Samizdata




msg:4640356
 11:20 pm on Jan 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

People look at a contact page to find contact information:

- Physical Address
- Telephone Number
- Email Address

Some will use an email form if provided, others will not.

...

ken_b




msg:4640363
 12:49 am on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

People look at a contact page to find contact information:

- Physical Address
- Telephone Number
- Email Address

Some will use an email form if provided, others will not.

I'm one of those people. If I land on a page with a contact form that doesn't also have the above info, in most cases I'm outta there quick. I assume they don't really want to hear from me.

I say "most" because occasionally I "have to" contact them, and there is no other easily found way.

The rest of the time I simply move on to their more user friendly competitors.

aristotle




msg:4640373
 2:09 am on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

Question: What are they looking for?

If people like your website, then they could become curious to know more about you, and might go to the contact page thinking that it might have more information about you.

lucy24




msg:4640374
 2:15 am on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ken_b:

I'm not in any kind of commerce and there's nothing on the site to imply a physical presence. Why would someone want to know where I live? What business is it of theirs?

Along with the form, I've got a direct email option (mailto: link). I could tell piwik to track clicks on the link, but honestly it seems unduly nosy. I already know if people have sent mail; for the rest, it doesn't really matter whether they clicked on a mailto: in the first place.

@aristotle: I've got a separate link to my g### profile page. ("If you must know...") That one gives a little more information.

ken_b




msg:4640376
 2:33 am on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm not in any kind of commerce and there's nothing on the site to imply a physical presence. Why would someone want to know where I live? What business is it of theirs?

I guess I missed that part. If it's not e-commerce, I wouldn't care about a physical address or phone, but at a minimum I'd want to see an email address.

Why? Because I think it's a lot more user friendly and it ads credibility, at least in my mind.

Contact forms are like throwing stuff to the wind.

[On my info site, on my contact us page, I provide a PO Box address (site name, PO Box #, etc. and a email address (in an image-no mailto link]. It's pretty interesting how many people actually send snail mail. Not a lot, but I've gotten some pretty useful info and requests there. I also include a note that they need to type the email addy by hand, seems to work fine.]

Another note: I often look at a contact us page for the above info, ....

even if I have no intention of contacting the site.

I just see it as an indication of credibility.

..

Samizdata




msg:4640377
 2:36 am on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

Why would someone want to know where I live? What business is it of theirs?

They don't want to know where you live.

They are looking at the possible ways to contact you.

Because you invited them to.

Perhaps you should change the anchor text in your link to "Email".

...

lucy24




msg:4640428
 6:53 am on Jan 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

They are looking at the possible ways to contact you.

Well, they're on a page containing both an online form and a mailto: link (which, yes, uses the word "e-mail"). They're not getting my phone number :)

at a minimum I'd want to see an email address.

Why? Because I think it's a lot more user friendly and it ads credibility, at least in my mind.

Contact forms are like throwing stuff to the wind.

Now that's interesting, because as a user I see it the other way around. "No, really, I don't want to bother some individual human. I just want to contact the site in a general sort of way." That's why I changed from a direct email link to a Contact page. No security/privacy involved, since the email address is still there for the asking.

Jonesy




msg:4641930
 5:07 pm on Feb 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

If ( IF ) I want to send an email, I right-click on the mailto:link
and then paste that into the To: header of my email program that I
run on a remote VPS. I don't know if any of my local browsers are
even configured to use a GUI MUA.

GoNC




msg:4642189
 8:32 pm on Feb 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Here's what I've learned over the years:

1. Some people like a contact form.

2. Some people like an email link (like me; this way, I have a copy in my Sent folder).

3. Some people aren't comfortable with, or simply can't, type an email, and they want a telephone number.

I took the telephone number off of my site about 6 years ago, but every once in awhile (like this morning), someone will still call with some minor problem that could have been easily resolved by email. But they spent [u]days[/u] trying to find a telephone number rather than email. Seriously.

I worried briefly that my ISP was eating their mail-- it's pretty inept at identifying spam


Just to be safe, why not save the messages to a text file, in addition to emailing? This way, you can double check this file every so often to make sure you didn't miss anything.

If you're not sure how to code this, let me know and I'll show you how. Just let me know the programming language you're using.

piatkow




msg:4642201
 9:39 pm on Feb 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I used to get regular calls asking me my snail mail address, the only place where my phone number was displayed had my address alongside it!

Back to the OP I look at contact pages for two reason:
1. Ecommerce, I don't buy from a site that keeps its address secret.
2. B2B, I want to send an introductory pack by snail mail.

Its very seldom that I actually need to contact the site by email.

tangor




msg:4642220
 11:54 pm on Feb 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Over the years the nature of USERS has changed nearly as much as the WEB itself.

In the early daze (sic... circa 1996-1999) my email contact (both form or just an email address) got fair use. In this last decade it has not worked as well. One site that has been up since 1996 in a rather small, though very fannish niche.

The ecommerce sites on the other hand... filtering out the spam hits to find the customers continues to be an interesting pastime.

GoNC




msg:4642236
 1:17 am on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Over the years the nature of USERS has changed nearly as much as the WEB itself.


Brother, you just said a mouthful! LOL

This is totally off topic for the thread, but here, we often talk about the irony. A few short years ago, if someone had to download a separate program specifically to use your site (Flash, VRML, etc), then it was pretty much guaranteed that your site would fail.

Today, our most common question: "why don't you have an app?" I don't say this, but I always wonder, "why do you think you need a separate program to use my site?"

So, yeah, the evolution of internet users is almost astounding.

piatkow




msg:4642332
 10:39 am on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have yet to see any report that actually tells us if phones and other small screen devices are replacing desktop machines or if their traffic is additional.

Put it another way, there are 10 apples and I am given 1. I have 10% of the apples. Next year there are 40 apples and I am given two, I have 5% of the apples. Have I got more or less apples?

LifeinAsia




msg:4642391
 4:35 pm on Feb 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Have I got more or less apples?

I think a better question is what is the relative value of those apples (year to year)?

The traffic you get from non-desktops may be more valuable, less valuable, or roughly the same as desktop traffic, depending on your ability to monetize it.

Back OT, I agree that the nature of the Contact page has a lot to do with the type of site, as well as the type of visitors it receives.

Many of the phone calls we've received over the years could have been handled much more easily via e-mail. And many of the Contact Us submissions we've received are from SEO agencies, sales people, offers of manufacturing outsourcing from China for some obscure piece of equipment that has nothing to do with us, and various other time wasters that we easily handled with a click of the delete button instead of wasting time on the phone.

lucy24




msg:4642536
 7:36 am on Feb 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

Today, our most common question: "why don't you have an app?" I don't say this, but I always wonder, "why do you think you need a separate program to use my site?"

They want to visit your web site without having to type its address on the micro-keyboard or go hunting for the wee little Favorites menu. (I know Mobile Safari has got one, but it always takes me at least three tries to find it.) At the moment, the apps I use most often are YouTube --even though it's a lousy design-- NFB and Cracked. See what they've all got in common? They're simply web sites.

GoNC




msg:4642542
 8:20 am on Feb 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hmm. I'll start another thread on this...

tangor




msg:4642544
 8:22 am on Feb 5, 2014 (gmt 0)

They want to visit your web site without having to type its address on the micro-keyboard or go hunting for the wee little Favorites menu.

Sad to say that the "new majority" are cell phones, not computers, and these folks were raised as couch potatoes. Thus, all they are looking for is that channel number of the telly for gratification... that click and get... that TV experience.

As for the rest of us all we can hope is that we are on the same bundled cable and get a bite from time to time. Whoops, there's no APP for that! (sigh)

The only contact they want is telephone... because they is what they are using. The computer geeks, or those who know computers and security issues these days, don't send out their info over wifi (MITM attacks, etc.).

Our site contact rates are going DOWN because we and the security folks (programs) out there have done our job. We have warned them to be wary.

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