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Wussy CEOs hide on their own Web sites

Dear CEOs: Don't be afraid of getting e-mail.

Josh and I just spent the better part of two days finding e-mail contacts for the products that were nominated for the Webware 100 awards. Many nominations came from people not affiliated with the companies that made these products. Fans, in other words.

To these fans, I say, thanks for taking the time to nominate the products you like. But to nearly all companies that have the fans, I blow loud and wet raspberries in your general direction. Do you have any idea how freaking hard it was to find contact information for you?

In far too many cases, there was no e-mail address on company Web sites. Several companies did offer e-mail forms, which is a half-measure. But what's so bad about listing an e-mail address for a CEO? Spam stopped being a problem about two years ago. And, Mr. or Ms. CEO, if you can't figure out how to use one of the good off-the-shelf antispam products out there, at least make sure one of your PR lackeys has their e-mail address (a real address, not an "" cop-out) posted on the site. You're paying them to be in touch, right?

Of the companies that I checked, only one (Fotki) actually had a linked e-mail for the CEO on the site. A few others--I could count them on my fingers--had e-mails, but unlinked, in the old-school antispam way: "My e-mail is Joe-the-CEO at companyname dot com."

Dear people who want to strike it rich on the Internets: get a clue. Business is personal. And if you actually want to do some business, maybe you should make it just a little bit easier for your customers (and journalists) to communicate with you.

Yours sincerely,

P.S.: I know Webware's "about" page doesn't have e-mails listed on it. That will change.

Voting on the Webware 100 will start at noon Pacific Time on Wednesday, May 23.