mailto: links are evil (not because of spam)
The easiest way to let visitors send you an e-mail through your web site
is putting your e-mail address inside a
This appears to be a clever move (“they’ll click
mailto: link, write me the e-mail and that’s it”) but it is not!
The problem is that not everybody has a properly configured e-mail client and/or browser
that will let him/her send e-mails by clicking your
I made myself the mistake of using
on a website I had to make for one of my customers.
One day, he told me that “some people couldn’t send e-mails using the website”: he was very worried and concerned about losing reputation with the site visitors/users.
I have to admit that I had no clue of what the problem could be. Fortunately, I could interview a user, a nice woman who said me something like:
I am very, very sorry probably I’m making a mistake myself but... when I click the e-mail links, I see a window with all the stuff like recipient, subject, etc... I write the message and click “Send”. Nothing happens and the recipient says he doesn't receive anything... Please help!
She was using a not configured installation of Outlook Express 6,
that was handling the
mailto: link. She couldn’t distinguish between
a website e-mail form and an e-mail client, and that’s her problem.
But my problem is to make users happy even if they are not tech-savvies.
As a fast workaround, I immediately removed all the
mailto: links replacing them
with the bare e-mail address (no link), and planned the implementation of an e-mail form.
mailto: links should just be avoided. Never use them.
Use e-mail forms, or if you can’t, just write the e-mail address without any link.