I mentioned in passing a couple of days ago that the Times web site didn’t have a valid webmaster email address, but actually it seems that this problem is far more widespread. A number of companies, it seems, would rather you didn’t have a simple way to contact their webmaster. Another one that came to my attention yesterday is the WeightWatchers site (I was investigating why it didn’t work in Firefox, I wasn’t trying to sign up – honest).
I’m sure that these companies will cite spam as the reason for not supporting standard and well-known addresses like this but, frankly, that doesn’t stand up. If you’re running a well-known site like that then you should already have industrial-strength spam prevention measures in place. The webmaster address has been a useful tradition since the start of the web (all those years ago!) Don’t let the spammers kill it.
Another similar story from just this morning. I decided to tell some of the local press about Project Martin, so I visited the web site of the South London Press. The “contact us” page on the site has far more postal addresses than email addresses, but it does suggest firstname.lastname@example.org, so I send my email there. Only to get it bounced with a message that it’s not a valid address. And interestingly (well, to me) the bounce email comes from “email@example.com” which doesn’t give me much faith in the people running their network.