2 Simple Email Tricks

by DanB

It’s frustrating. You find a website with some information you really want but they want your email address first. You already receive lots of email and do not really know. A client asked me about this recently. Here are a few ideas I shared.

First, when a web site asks for your email don’t just enter a random address. You you may be signing someone else up to receive the email. Instead try using an Internet test address.

Any email addressed to @example.com will never be delivered. So you can try entering a@example.com into the box. Depending on the email provider behind the box this sometimes works. You can put anything you want in front of the @. I choose “a” to save typing. Some providers notice the example.com address and ask you for a valid address.

Another option if you are using Gmail is Plus Addressing. Lets say your email is bdekolta@gmail.com. With plus addressing you just add a “+” followed by anything you like. So when you signed up for TNPC you could be bdekolta+tnpc@gmail.com. The mail still comes to your inbox. Later you can easily set a filter on the email coming to that address. You can have as many “+” addresses as you like.

I know the Plus Addressing works with Gmail. Not sure how other providers handle it. I know some use a “-” addressing. Just check with your email provider. This is much easier than changing addresses and providers. This is a low tech, low hassle way to take quick control of your email.

Do you know how this works with other email providers or have other ideas please comment below.

  • Here

    I just use here@home.com never had a problem yet :)

  • http://www.tnpcnews.com/ DanB

    You haven’t had a problem but the Real Estate business that owns Here.com gets to deal with all that email. They most likely pay somebody to handle that. Better to use example.com and not contribute to email clutter. Mail is never even sent to @example.com addresses.

  • http://www.tnpcnews.com/ DanB

    You could use outside services. I just find those time consuming. Personally I don’t even use the Plus scheme. Was showing a close friend how to use it.

    And good job on using my tip when registering your comment!

  • Juergen

    Thanks for the tip. But if the point is to keep your e-mail address from betting onto too many distribution lists you don’t want to be on, then Plus or Minus methods are easily defeated by culling all addresses for these characters and purging everything from there on to the @ sign. That’s what I would do if I was a halfway decent and unscrupulous webmaster.
    All the best and happy holidays. Juergen

  • http://www.tnpcnews.com/ DanB

    You would think so but on the whole that just doesn’t happen. If the website is using any of the common emailers – Mail Chimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, Get Response, etc. I know it doesn’t happen. In a nutshell the people that would do that are just gathering addresses by other means in the first place.

    I say that as someone who has worked the backend and helped other people work the backend since the 1990′s. Not saying it doesn’t happen – just highly unlikely.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ~ Dan

  • Maurice Rich


    FYI another one that works for Gmail is if your email address is
    something@gmail.com then you can
    use/place a “.” Anywhere in this.

    Thus s.omething@gmail.com
    is valid as is some.thing@gmail.com
    & somet.hing@gmail.com – as per
    your hint above these are also easily filtered..


  • Petermac

    If you own your own domain, and are the  “catch all”  recipient construct an email address using an identifiable prefix @yourdomain.com. You are giving an address for something on the XYZ web site use xyz@yourdomain.com. Thus the usual confirmation email will get to you but if the address is later misused you know where the leak came from, and who to complain to. Easy to filter out later emails.

  • Juergen

     That is hard to believe but I take your well-reasoned word for it. I enjoy your newsletter.

  • http://www.tnpcnews.com/ DanB

    You are correct. Although that opens you to lots of email when spammers use a dictionary attack. Where they attach thousands of names to your domain name and send mail. I’ve seen a decrease in this type of email in recent years.

    Now you did that when you subscribed with me years ago. So I hope we have taken care of your address.

    One other possibility if you have your own domain is to move your email processing into Google Apps. I have done this for several of my domains and really find it worthwhile. There is a free version for small needs – fewer than 10 email accounts – but it can be tricky to find.

    Finally just check where your domain is hosted. They may let you use the “+” or the “-” addressing already. I want to say “-” addressing is typical of qmail on the backend. But I don’t want to get that technical here. Just write your support and ask them if your email system supports Plus or Minus addressing.

    Thank you for contributing – I appreciate it.

    ~ Dan

  • http://www.tnpcnews.com/ DanB

    Very simple isn’t it? Thanks for posting.

    ~ Dan

  • Here

     I think you meant home .com but unless they have
    a user “here” then the e-mail server kicks to out and they never see it.

  • http://www.tnpcnews.com/ DanB

    That may or may not be true. Depends on the server settings. In any case it causes unnecessary processing on the server. Not picking on you but I did use to administer mail servers.

    Thanks for posting – I appreciate it.

  • Ed Beideman

    I created an e-mail account in Yahoo that I only use for this type of purpose and it obviously works well

  • http://www.tnpcnews.com/ DanB

     Ed, thank you for sharing.

    Having an external email does work. The techniques I shared above are designed to minimize the effort. The plus technique lets you use one account and easily keep track of everything. Ultimately whatever works for you is best. I think it is possible to use the “-” with Yahoo but don’t have the details.

Previous post:

Next post: