7 Reasons Not To Have A Contact Form On Your Website
Okay, up above these words in the menu bar, there’s a page called Contact Us, and we’re beginning to believe that it’s more trouble than it’s worth. In fact, we’re beginning to think we should get rid of it altogether, and we’re coming round to the view that everyone else should too. Now we’re not self-appointed web experts or internet gurus; we’re humourists. If you have a website yourself, we can only advise you to free yourself from the tyranny of the contact form based on our own experience. And, from our experience of having one of the damned things, here are seven reasons to get rid of it.
1. You’ll Have A More Manageable Penis. One of the most frequent things that people use the contact form for is to attempt to sell us penis enlargement pills. And by frequent, I mean we get a lot of penis enlargement offers. In fact, if we don’t visit our inbox for a while it ends up chock-full of enlarged penises. We aren’t really interested in any of these offers (I have a child now, so I probably won’t even need mine for the next eighteen years or so), but it’s a lot of stuff to wade through and ignore. Well, I say ignore, I’m assuming that my writing partner Jon’s ignoring them too. Perhaps he isn’t, though. Perhaps Jon’s buying penis enlargement pills from everyone that’s offering them. It could be that since we’ve been running 7 Reasons, Jon has purchased so many of these pills that his penis has become a major Kent landmark. Maybe ruddy-faced locals in smocks are staring at his chemically-enhanced appendage right now and pointing up at it with awe. Perhaps it’s on Google Earth. Who knows? One thing’s for sure, it’ll be a major hazard to air travellers as the other thing we get offered almost every day is Viagra.
2. You’ll Get To Read Less Gibberish. When the contact form isn’t trying to enlarge our penises, it sends other stuff too. It sends gibberish. Most things containing the subject heading “7 Reasons Contact Form” look like someone just pressed many keys at once. Frequently, we get the message that “sdkjfkl;sdfjsjsdk;” wrote “sjklsdhfkjsdhfjksdfhsjdfhjlksfsdhthurthw”. This is not helpful. In fact, it’s quite scary that “mgklksfdlgjkhg” writes “mxvnbcxn,bvcxb,mvxc” and “hytfhtyhtfyh” writes “vbnmbmnmbnm” on such a regular basis. Our contact page is fairly dull, but it’s not soporific enough to make this many people doze off on their keyboards while they’re reading it. So perhaps this is just the law of averages. Perhaps one person a day actually falls down dead while looking at our contact form. They’re probably dying when they’re reading other posts too, it’s just that we won’t get to know about that. 7 Reasons could be killing them in their droves: We might be the greatest practitioners of genocide since Pol Pot*. Either that, or – I don’t know – but we only get stuff like this from the contact form, not via email or our comments section.
3. Your Life Will Contain Less Mystery. This morning, via the contact form, we received this question: “When does it start airing?” That’s it. That’s the entire message. But what does it even mean? When does what start airing? Is this an enquiry about my laundry? Is this an enquiry about Jon’s penis? 7 Reasons: The Panel Show? Who knows? Certainly not me, and I don’t want to wake up to a mystery of a morning; I’m not Quincy. I just want to wake up to find that it isn’t raining and that there are coffee beans in the house. I would be able to do that if it weren’t for the contact form.
4. Your Messages Will Go To The Right Person. Above our contact form we clearly direct people that wish to write for us to a different page containing a dedicated email address for guest post submissions. This is a (vain) attempt to try to limit the number of identical submissions we receive about car insurance (purportedly all from different people) and to get them sent directly to Jon – who’s in charge of guest post submissions – rather than to me. He’s more patient than I am. He’s calmer than I am. On receiving his ninth identical offer of a car insurance post in a day, Jon’s veins bulge, he turns red, he emits a sound that is part scream, part bellow and part mating call of a rhinoceros and begins to punch the nearest table or wall. I, on the other hand, don’t take receiving them nearly as well. So there’s no likelihood of these things getting used and we just end up getting rather worked up when we receive them. Well, I do.
5. You’ll Feel Better About Yourself. This is from the contact form:
My name is *****.
I would like to ask you if its possible to buy the picture of the lemons in a
high resolution (300ppi 160mm x 200 mm).
And if you have it form a other place can you tell me where?
This refers to a picture of lemons that – in the same way that approximately 99.99999999% of websites source their pictures – we got from Google Images. There’s no way of replying to this person (that amazingly managed to give us their own name three times during the course of a tiny message) without sounding sarcastic. “Dear *****, we did get it from another place. It is available here. Yours sincerely, the 7 Reasons team” would make us look rather mean.
We’ve also received this:
Do you stock a Thermos type water jug to use on invalids bedside, I can’t find one in cataloues.
That’s just heart-breaking. Could we, in all conscience, send a reply saying “sorry, as a humour website we carry no stock of thermal water jugs, could we tempt you with a mildly Francophobic t-shirt?” No. Of course not. So we either have to spend our time researching random queries from confused people or feel really bad about ourselves.
6. You’ll Hear Less About The Colour Of Hats. The other thing we frequently receive via the cursed contact form are offers of help. Technical help. Traffic driving help. Messages that variously offer to help us “engage strategic initiatives”, “harness value-added solutions”, “integrate visionary partnerships” and “orchestrate bricks-and-clicks infomediaries”. A recent message discoursed for so long about white hat SEO, black hat SEO and grey hat SEO that I almost lost the will to live and – had I been viewing the contact form – I would have been in danger of sending myself a gibberish message with my face. As it was, I began to think about purchasing a hat. What I wasn’t thinking about was taking anyone up on their kind offer to improve our website with their baffling and incomprehensible gobbledygook.
7. You’ll Receive A Better Standard Of Correspondence. Groucho Marx brilliantly and wittily advocated exclusivity when he famously said, “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member”, and this can be applied to the Contact Form too. Because the contact form makes us too accessible. It’s too easy to get in touch with us. If it were more difficult to get hold of us, then we’d get a better class of correspondence, because the act of having to do a tiny bit of research to find our contact details and paste them into an email program could well cut out the spammers and raise standards. Perhaps the extra time and effort that this will take will cause people to reflect on whether they really need to contact us at all.
It boils down to this: If you have a contact form, it’s a magnet for spam in all its forms: penis-related-spam; gibberish-spam; spam that consists of bizarre utterances from the mad; spam that shouldn’t even be going to you; spam that is just flabbergasting or heartrending in its naivety; spam about hats. The one thing we rarely receive from the contact us form is any sort of meaningful correspondence. That all comes via email or Twitter. We’re going to be brave; we’re going to be bold: We’ve looked at the correspondence we receive via our contact form, and we’re going to disable it. And if you have a website that has one, we recommend you go back through your inbox and have a look at how much worthwhile correspondence you’ve received through it. We’re guessing it’s not as much as you think.
*The level of interest in our latest competition bears this out.