I find websites having a contact form which you must put in your own email address. It is frustrating because I would rather send an email my self.

What is the rationale for doing this and not providing a contact email? How can I find contact emails for sites which don't provide it?

  • What type of sites are you referring to? Are these businesses or personal hobby sites? Must admit when I read your question I was thinking business. A hobby site probably wouldn't want to show an email address in any form.
    – MrWhite
    Aug 4 '12 at 13:07
  • @w3d, amazon, youtube, for example.
    – user17479
    Aug 4 '12 at 13:26
  • 1
    The flamin' amount of spam received is the reason. There are ways of controlling it with a form. The prime example is postmaster@ or abuse@ spam. Given that both accounts are there to get rid of it, why do these accounts get junk mail sent to them? Aug 4 '12 at 16:19

Why use contact forms?

  1. Reduce spam Easier to redirect e-mails to various departments or people
  2. Can update the receiving e-mail address without forwards or address book changes
  3. Works for users who don't have an e-mail address or e-mail client on their computer
  4. Can append website usage stats and other user information to the e-mail
  5. No chance for the user to mis-type the intended e-mail address

As for how to get an e-mail address from a company, I'd suggest using their contact form to ask them for it :) Or the telephone, post, or fax. They may also have an e-mail address on printed promotional materials like brochures, letterheads, or business cards.


On my site I use this type of contact form instead of just showing the email address. The reason is simple: I don't want that the spammers to get my email.

  • Do you not show the email address in any form?
    – MrWhite
    Aug 4 '12 at 12:32
  • Basically what we found to be the case. If you advertise the emails, you get tremendous amounts of junk (4,000-10,000 a day) and the forms have cut it out. The administrative costs aren't worth it. Aug 4 '12 at 16:24
  • @w3d No, I don't.
    – Roman
    Aug 5 '12 at 15:51

It's usually meant to keep incoming emails to a minimum. Not just spam but emails in general if an email address is displayed on a website it's not only spam they have to worry about but other unsolicited business emails from legitimate companies.

It's also convenient to visitors who don't have email clients that open by default from mailto: links, if it's just an email displayed as text you then have to copy / paste it which takes time.

Best way to get an email address for a company is to call them and ask for it.

  • I don't think your second argument is a valid reason for simply not displaying an email address.
    – MrWhite
    Aug 4 '12 at 12:30
  • @w3d I know a lot of people who had Outlook express opening with mailto links and didn't know how to configure a default mail client. It's perfectly a valid reason to have a form for convenience. It's exactly why many sites open them in modals now or have fixed feedback/contact buttons site wide which open in modals.
    – Anagio
    Aug 4 '12 at 12:33
  • Yes, I agree, a form is great and I'm not saying the email address should be marked up in a mailto:, but I don't think having an email address as plain text (that the user has to copy), or even an image, is a reason for not displaying the email address at all.
    – MrWhite
    Aug 4 '12 at 12:55
  • 1
    If you agree then it's a valid reason. See your first comment.
    – Anagio
    Aug 4 '12 at 13:23
  • I think you have misunderstood. I was simply commenting on the 2nd part/paragraph of your answer, which doesn't appear to be relevant to the OP's question. (This has nothing to do whether I think the email address should be present or not.)
    – MrWhite
    Aug 4 '12 at 15:01

We, in my company, have several reasons to use form instead of email. But two of them is more important. We collect users contacts and we get data about user's location for redirect his question to related shop.

In other hand, when I can't find email on the site by myself it makes me crazy. With this forms I can't save history of my massages.


Websites may not have, but domains do (for most times). when you register a domain name the owner need to provide an Email Adderss. (in most countries)

You can access the recoreds via WHOIS websites like DomainTools.com

You will find for most times an Email for mid-size and small websites, I know because I worked in this field for several years.