In reading over at the Gmail Blog, I came across this suggestion to try with Gmail. The idea is, let’s say your address is email@example.com Okay, next time you sign up for a mailing list, or need a free website login, use firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or any other unique identifier (something you’ll be able to track.) The idea is this… gmail ignores anything after a + in the address and the mail will still get to your inbox, but… here comes the cool part.
Now, you can set up a filter on that incoming address. If all you use that address for is the free login to a website and start getting junk in 2 months on that address, you can start filtering that to a junk mail folder. So, it got me to thinking that maybe this is possible with other mail servers.
I tested on my westhost based accounts and it works for them as well as my home mail server. SO…. here’s how you test just send yourself a message to firstname.lastname@example.org whatever your email address is with +testing between your name and the @ sign and see if it goes through. IF you’re like me and have more than one email address you might test from one account to the other just to make certain that this works “from the outside”.
Most mail clients allow you to setup filtering or rules for messages based on the recipient address so you can implement this trick with most any mail program.
Another note in the gmail blog was that you can insert periods (.) in the first part of your email address as well and gmail ignores them. (I know this won’t work with as many mail servers…) There again within gmail you can use this to sort/filter an incoming message based on the recipient address.
Now some of us feel like the cat is already out of the bag with regards to spam, but even if you already get a fair amount of junk, there’s no time like the present to start using different psuedo-addresses for each site that you frequent as a defensive measure against tomorrows junk mail.
My only real concern with this method is how easy it might be for someone to just strip the information from the + to the @ in a batch of email addresses, but… many probably won’t bother to go to that extra effort.
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