A step backwards? New service makes it hard to e-mail people

Usability is all about making things easy to use. That’s common sense though, right?

Maybe not.

I came across a new service today called Scr.im. It’s (very noble)  aim is to help prevent spammers getting hold of your e-mail address by scraping it off of web sites (such as forums) where you might have reason to post it.

The service replaces your e-mail address with a nice URL, like http://scr.im/hiphilipjohn (and you’re welcome to try that link out) that spam bots can’t get past. When you click on the link you’re asked to complete a simple test, similar to a Captcha.

However noble, though, it just makes e-mailing someone hard. Instead of one click of the e-mail address it takes 3-clicks at best; once to Scr.im, once to pass the test and once for the actual e-mail address.

I understand spam is a problem but I can’t help thinking the time and effort spent building and maintaining Scr.im, as well as signing up, would be better spent on improving spam filters, rather than something which essentially degrades the user experience.

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2 responses to “A step backwards? New service makes it hard to e-mail people”

  1. Tomas Avatar

    I really like the idea, it’s a really quick and easy way to stop spam.

    I think this simple, yet effective method can really help in the blocking of Spam.

    I agree that it shouldn’t be a replacement for good spam filtering, but it is a pretty good barrier until they get better!

    (Ironically, this comment box won’t allow me to put my Scr.im address as my email address :P)

  2. Philip John Avatar

    GMail (up until the last week or so) has never let spam into my inbox, which shows it is possible to get rid of spam.

    Harvesters are only part of the problem though – there’s unscrupulous companies selling e-mail addresses.

    Plus a lot of spam is invited. Plenty of people sign up to competitions and the like and are then surprised when they get spam. Except technically, it’s not spam, it’s just unwanted.

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