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Use gmail to generate unlimited email addresses  

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Monday, September 10, 2007
Learn How To Hack

Gmail has an interesting quirk where you can add a plus sign (+) after your Gmail address, and it'll still get to your inbox. It's called plus-addressing, and it essentially gives you an unlimited number of e-mail addresses to play with. Here's how it works: say your address is pinkyrocks@gmail.com, and you want to automatically label all work e-mails. Add a plus sign and a phrase to make it pinkyrocks+work@gmail.com and set up a filter to label it work (to access your filters go to Settings->Filters and create a filter for messages addressed to pinkyrocks+work@gmail.com. Then add the label work).

More real world examples:
Find out who is spamming you: Be sure to use plus-addressing for every form you fill out online and give each site a different plus address.

Example: You could use
pinkyrocks+nytimes@gmail.com for nytimes.compinkyrocks+freestuff@gmail.com for freestuff.comThen you can tell which site has given your e-mail address to spammers, and automatically send them to the trash.

Automatically label your incoming mail:
I've talked about that above.Archive your mail: If you receive periodic updates about your bank account balance or are subscribed to a lot of mailing lists that you don't check often, then you can send that sort of mail to the archives and bypass your Inbox.

Example: For the mailing list, you could give
pinkyrocks+mailinglist1@gmail.com as your address, and assign a filter that will archive mail to that address automatically. Then you can just check in once in a while on the archive if you want to catch up.

Update (9/7) :
Several commentors have indicated that this is not a Gmail specific trick. kl says Fastmail has enabled this feature as well. caliban10 reports that a lot of sites reject addresses with a plus sign. You might use other services like Mailinator for disposable addresses instead. pbinder recommends using services like SpamGourmet, which redirects mail to your real address.

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