I’ve just discovered anonomi.com, a more than useful site that lets you set up a web contact form so strangers can send you email without knowing your email address.
The service is free and billed as an anti-spam measure, thanks in part for the need to complete a Captcha to send a message.
But the Captcha is interesting because it means you cannot be sent a mail as part of a legitimate bulk mail-out, which strikes me as a very interesting application for people like journalists who have lots of transient relationships with people who they may (sometimes) prefer not to have their email address.
It even makes me think that there could be a moment coming where people start to divide their address books into people to whom they will give their email address and funnel the rest into a ‘second class’ service like this. That way the people you do not particularly want to send you email can be funneled into a channel that will reach you but has a higher barrier to entry than normal email. This could, I think, help make them think twice about whether or not to send the email in the first place.
I can imagine setting up a new email address to catch anonomi traffic and providing only my anonomi page (anonomi.com/ssharwood) to certain classes of people.
It would certainly be an interesting statement to make to someone to funnel them into an anonomi kind of channel. Quite how one would do it is another matter altogether!