There are undoubtedly advantages to using a form, but equally there are advantages to giving a mailto link. For example:
- A significant minority of users are incapable of typing their email address correctly. I regularly get an 'undeliverable bounce' when I respond to emails that have arrived through a contact form. Sometimes the mistakes are easy to spot, but there are plenty more that need clairvoyance to correct, so those people don't ever get a reply, and won't know why. If the message comes from their configured mail client, that's virtually guaranteed to have the correct reply email address on.
- A lot of people prefer using a mail client to a contact form:
- They aren't constrained typing into a tiny box where you can only see three or four lines of text at a time
- If the web page fails when they send a contact form (not at all uncommon, especially on mobile devices!) there's a good chance they've lost everything. It's much less likely that a mail client will crash. If the SMTP connection fails, the message won't have been lost
- They've got confirmation that the message has been sent (it's in the sent items folder), a permanent record of what they wrote and they know where the message has been sent to.[/list]
The ideal answer is to have a mailto link and a contact form, which allows everybody to contact you in whichever way they find easiest. If you're only going to have one then it should usually be a contact form, but there's a very good case for having both and no real downside apart from a possible increase in spam. (That said, I've been obfuscting email addresses with @ instead of @ for years and not noticed any spam coming through on those accounts)