Ever wonder why it’s so hard to find the right contact on a publisher’s Web site compared to the masthead of their magazine? There are few things online as frustrating as looking for contact information and finding an anonymous e-mail form intead of names, numbers and e-mail addresses. But could leaving specific names and info off the list lead to the loss of a potential subscription or new ad partnership or create an unhappy reader?

Regional title Maryland Life is cautious. “As far as not listing staff e-mail, the purpose is to cut down on SPAM messages,” says publisher and editor Dan Patrell. “Though unsolicited junk e-mail still comes through to staff members and other utility e-mails employed here, I would hate to see the volume of junk if I were to place every e-mail plainly on the site.”

Acoustic Guitar, published by String Letter Publishing, lists a similar amount of information, keeping specific names, titles and contact info off its Web site. Advertisers are directed to a “submit” form. “We figure if someone wants to find out who is doing what they will look at the masthead in our magazine,” says Web coordinator Graham Pellettieri. “If it’s something they are taking the time to contact us about, I think we offer a good enough amount of information.”

This could be a risky approach however, considering the number of potential subscribers and advertisers who log on to scope things out before they buy or if they are looking for a phone number to call a sales person. But Pellettieri is not concerned. “Most of the people we keep in contact with are returning customers so they probably already have a contact at the company,” he says. “We have 65,000 to 75,000 paid subscribers, so if we put our names and e-mail addresses online we’d get spammed out.”

Spam and unsolicited e-mails are not a concern for Mark Smelzer, publisher of Reed Business jewelry trade publication JCK. The JCK Web site lists editors, sales people and even event contacts’ e-mail and direct phone numbers. “In an industry of thousands of individual retailers you want to make communication as easy as possible,” says Smelzer. “It is a different situation because we don’t have millions of readers, where I guess in the consumer world you could be exposing yourself more.”