Here are five alternatives that can keep your personal or business inbox free of solicitations and spammy messages.
Using Shortmail is one of the easiest ways to communicate with others. The service limits messages to 500 characters and doesn't allow attachments, meaning that receiving spam is highly unlikely. It's essentially an instant messaging platform that uses email.
With Shortmail's character limit, those who want to email you are forced to get to the point — without sending you junk. The best part is that you can send and receive messages via regular email accounts, so there's no need to have others sign up for the free service.
2. Form Submissions
Rather than give out your email address, have inquiring parties fill out a form on your website. You can set up the form to deliver the messages to your inbox, or to deliver messages to specific colleagues if you add options for different departments.
Some form services allow you to place character limits, ensuring that the messages are brief and compact. There's no need to give out a specific email, and you can choose whether or not to respond.
Depending on your industry, Twitter could be a good option for getting in touch with others. It's a fast way to pitch stories, offer feedback and register complaints.
You can also direct message people for longer, more private conversations. Your Twitter is most likely public anyway, so you might as well use it to your advantage and keep your email free of spam.
4. Account Forwarding
Maintaining a separate email account for unsolicited messages is a viable option, but it can get annoying, since you'll have to sign in and out of it frequently.
Instead, create a generic email (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org) and set up forwarding in your email client's settings. To prevent those messages from mixing in with your primary inbox, direct the forwarded mail to a separate folder or category. That way, no one has your main email address, but they can still get in contact with you easily.
Giving out a personal phone number is just as bad as giving out your email, but if you have an office phone number or a front desk phone, it could be a good way to screen communication.
The lowest-tech of these options, phones allow you to send calls directly to voicemail if you don't recognize a number. And if your office has a front desk, the receptionist can alert you to phone calls, giving you the option to accept or not. Giving out a phone number rather than an email address also means you can block numbers or, in extreme cases, simply disconnect the phone. It might not be a very convenient option, but it's effective.