Over the last 14 years, I have witnessed the internet expanding rapidly and becoming massively commercialised. With this kind of rampant upscaling, there is always a point at which there are enough people using the system that want to exploit it in some way, usually for monetary gain. With the internet, this has been done rather crudely with the invent of spam email. There are large numbers of servers whose primary aim is to crawl the internet searching for an email address. They then generate a list of these email addresses and sell them to companies who will send out mass emails trying to entice people to buy something or other.
As this problem has increased (apparently over 85% of all emails sent are spam), web developers have panicked and come up with all sorts of stupid methods to try and prevent it. Most developers won’t output their email address in plain text on a website (or with a mailto link) but instead choose to try and hide it by doing something along the lines of “ben [at] bendodson [dot] com”. This is highly inaccessible and is a real pain to try and decipher sometimes – and besides, a human spammer could read it anyway! Other developers will set up a contact form and then protect it by means of a Captcha system or some other horrendously inaccessible device. These systems are incredibly difficult and time-consuming for able-bodied people to use let alone those with poor eye sight or other disabilities. Even so, these systems have become prevalent across the internet and show no signs of slowing down. Some contact forms now ask basic mathematic questions to prove you’re human completely over looking the fact that every one of these systems can eventually be thwarted as spam-bot developers adapt to them.
The real problem I have with all of these systems is that they impose limits on web users and slow them down. They pass all responsibility to the user and treat them like spam until proven innocent (by means of a test) rather than just accepting that these things happen and using an automated system that can filter spam from real conversation. Therefore, I’ve decided to take a stand against this and publish my email address loud and clear with a link that will open it in your email client of choice. If I get spammed, it really doesn’t bother me – I have a “junk mail” folder which has protected my inbox for a very long time and will continue to do so. Please feel free to contact me – I look forward to hearing from you soon!