One thing anyone collecting email addresses anywhere has to think about is address validation. How do you prevent users from typing bad addresses into your forms?
I ran into this yesterday attempting to take an online quiz. Before I was allowed to take the quiz, I had to provide my name, phone number and email address. Initially I attempted to use a tagged email address. This is one that delivers to my wordtothewise.com mailbox, but lets me identify who I initially gave the address to. The form wouldn’t let me give a tagged address “contains invalid characters.” Well, no, it doesn’t, but there are a lot of websites that think + and – and other characters are invalid.
So what did I do? I ended up using a yahoo address associated with my yahoo IM account. An account that may actually not be accepting mail any longer as I rarely log into it.
What did address validation get them in this case? Well, it got them an address I don’t read and may not even be active rather than the address I wanted to give them which would have delivered directly to my primary mail box. Somehow I don’t think this solution is really ideal for them. (It’s great for me, I’ll never know if they ever attempt to contact me.)
Coincidentally, UserGlue posted about email address validation and alternatives to “make them type their address twice.” (Do people do this? I typically cut and paste my address instead of retyping.)
How are other people validating email addresses?