XML News from Thursday, August 18, 2005

As I read more and more blogs on a variety of subjects, (and not just blogs but other sites too) there is one consistent mistake I keep seeing again and again and it's becoming more common: lack of e-mail addresses. This is killing so many sites, and they don't even know it. If you're running a customer focused site, failure to include your contact e-mail in the usual place is customer-hostile. Guess what? I don't care about your spam paranoia. That's your problem, not mine. I certainly don't want to give my business to a company that doesn't even have the competence to set up a spam filter. Nor do I care about making sure that mail is properly categorized and routed because I'm forced to select the subject from a popup menu. If you want to route the e-mail, then hire a human being to do it on your end. Don't waste my time with that. I'll probably do it wrong anyway. When I see a site with no e-mail address, I know this is a company that is trying to keep their customers away from them. I'll go elsewhere.

The same goes for personal sites. Do you want readers to tell you about your mistakes so you can fix them, or do you want to leave them in public view on yor web site for all the world to see? Do you want people to volunteer to help with your open source projects? Do you want people to send you job offers and consulting opportunities? Do you want people to offer you money and gifts? Believe it or not, people do all these things; and the people who do this are a highly self-selected bunch that you want to talk to; but if they can't find your e-mail address in the first 20 seconds or so of looking, it won't happen. On personal sites, your name and email address should be clearly visible on nearly every page you write. On corporate and organizational sites, some general email address that a person reads and forwards should be there too, but you probably won't lost too many customers if you have a link to a contacts page instead. But that's it. Make it any harder to find your email address and you're pissing away potential customers, partners, contributors, friends, investors, and other people you want to talk to. Sure, publishing your e-mail address means you'll get a few more obvious Nigerian scams and crank mail from Christian gun nuts; but it's about 10,000 times easier to delete these than it is to locate a new customer/partner/investor/friend/contributor/donor/etc. Removing your e-mail addresses from a web site is like shooting your dog to get rid of a few fleas. Now I'll get some angry e-mail from a few PETA nuts; but I can deal with that. :-)

Wolfgang Hoschek has released NUX 1.3, an open source add-on package for XOM that connects it to Michael Kay's Saxon 8 XSLT 2/XPath 2/XQuery processor, the Sun Multi-Schema Validator, and the Apache Lucense fulltext search engine. It also provides thread-safe factories and pools for creating XOM Builder objects. NUX also includes yet another non-XML binary format. Version 1.3 updates the dependent libraries, improves performance, and add assorted utility methods here and there thorughout the package. NUX is published under a modified BSD license (no advertising clause).