Did you know that your GMail address can be extended?
It can be a fantastic way to uniquely identify which source that gave away your address to a spammer, but more importantly - it helps you to filter your mail!
Let's say my address is firstname.lastname@example.org and let's say that I want to sign up for a newsletter for something useful - like a site for Silly Walk GIFs,
If I signup for the newsletter with mymail+SillyWalks@gmail.com- that is not only perfectly legal and working, it also means that the mail that arrives, has mymail+SillyWalks@gmail.com in the To: field.
are all working, valid addresses which are uniquely identifiable by you.
Wow, this post really took off. Glad you found it share worthy!
I see many have pointed out that not all sites accepts the + in an email address, inspite of it being a legal character according to the specification. What to do? Complain!
If the spammers drop the +, and you always use it - you will still be able to spot them. Fortunately, GMail already is wickedly good at spotting spam - so in this case, it could be detected as a sold address - unless the +extension is removed from the mail address, but then we are back at relying on GMail to flag it as spam.
It is true that this does not eliminate spam, but as you correctly observe - it helps for tagging and filing incoming email.
Another method is to register your own custom domain with email account support and configure your own individual email aliases without pluses. This is not a free solution, though.
Works for MS mail too!
Big thanks to who pointed out that the exact same mechanism works with hotmail.com and outlook.com as well. It should work with Google Apps, but someone has to confirm that.
Many also pointed out that the +sub-address is a feature which is a part of the email standard, but it is likely that it won't work on many custom domain mail address. Also, I didn't manage to get GMail to retrieve a +tagged mail from outlook.com
Thanks for all your feedback!
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