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Fight junk mail with a junk email account

October 20, 2014

self-destructing-mail

Sometimes you want some freebie a website is offering — a music file, a report, perhaps a technical preview of their new operating system. Often as not the website requires you to signup and provide personal details such as your name and email. Quite likely the whole point of offering the freebie is to harvest your personal information.

Before it will hand the thing over, the website may further insist on sending you a message with a link you have to click on to verify the email address you supplied.

You can avoid unpleasant repercussions from your casual Internet liaison, such as a lifetime of spam, by using a disposable email address service (DEA).

There are many free disposable email services. Each provides you with an instant free web-based email address and inbox. There are no signups, logins or passwords. Disposable email services do not allow you to compose new messages and all inboxes are publicly accessible.

This email account will self-destruct in…

10-min-mail

What varies from service to service is the longevity of the email address and inbox — some expire, some don’t — and how long the service will store the messages in the inbox — minutes to days. Some services also offer additional, or premium, email features such as handling file transfers and IP masking.

The many disposable email providers  include:

  • 10 Minute Mail — Instantly created free email — just copy and paste. By default each lasts 10 minutes but you can extend it another 10.
  • Airmail — instant free email. Inbox receives emails for you as long as you have the inbox open in a window or tab. Messages deleted after 24 hours. Uses a proxy server to mask your user ID. Also offers free email service for large files.
  • Guerrilla Mail — Instant free inbox lasts forever but messages are deleted after 0ne hour.
  • Mailinator — instantly create a free inbox. Messages deleted after a “couplc of hours”. Offers additional pay services. Funny FAQ!
  • YOPMail — Instant free inbox last forever. Messages are held for eight days.

There are many lists of disposable email providers, such as this “Ultimate list from 2012.

It’s important to remember that these kinds of web-based email have no login or password, meaning anyone who knows the email has the same access to the inbox that you  do.

For me that means the ideal temporary email is just that — one that completely expires after a set time, or at the very least the incoming messages expire quickly.

A friend complained to me that every time he bought something online he ended up receiving all sorts of crap offers but that he also received important shipping and tracking notifications. The services with permanent inboxes and longer message retention, such as Guerrilla Mail and YOPMail, would seem well suited for his needs.

A DIY disposable address that websites don’t like

There is an interesting email feature called subaddressing which is variously supported by web-based email providers.

Subaddressing allows you to modify your existing email address by adding in a text string of your choosing. The modified address will still be correctly delivered to your inbox.

Gmail’s support of subaddressing is commonly called “plus addressing” because any text can be added to a gmail address before the “@” symbol but after a “+” symbol.

So the original gmail address: “example@gmail.com” can be modified to say “example+ihatespammers@gmail.com“.

Google will ignore the “+ihatespammers” and still deliver the message to example@gmail.com. The recipient, however, can use the “+ihatespammers” string to sort and filter incoming massages.

This theoretically means you can submit your Gmail address (me@gmail.com) to a website — say spamsusall.com — and by modifying the email to read “me+spamsusall@gmail.com, you will be able to filter out any messages you receive to the modified address.

In practice however, it won’t always work because many webmasters have learned to configure the forms on their websites not to accept plus signs in email addresses.

According to the official Gnail blog, Gmail address can also contain random periods in the username before the “@” symbol without affecting delivery. So “ex.ample@gmail.com” and “examp.le@gmail.com” are still the same as “example@gmail.com”.

Yahoo Mail does not seem to support any string insertion in email addresses but allows users to set up disposable addresses in Yahoo Mail. Windows Live Hotmail allows users to create aliases of their addresses for the same effect.

From → Google, Internet

One Comment
  1. We hope our solution improves on those you’ve listed – infinite addresses, free and private. http://goo.gl/GzM2vD

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