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24tips: infinite email addresses

gmail11 Dec: Got a bona fide reason to sign up for multiple accounts with a service like Twitter or Tumblr, but they force you use a different email address each time? Gah. Pretty soon, the stuff heading off to Hotmail, Gmail and corporate mailboxes can get pretty confusing, not to mention the problem of retrieving logins when you’re asked to enter your email address. Was it crazypinkfairy81@hotmail.co.uk?

If you’ve got a Gmail email address, you’ve got an infinite range of potential email addresses right there. Gmail lets you add ‘+keyword’ after your username in the address, and delivers those messages to your normal inbox. So, you could sign up for accounts using:

  • joe.smith+twitter@gmail.com
  • joe.smith+backpackingtumblr@gmail.com

And being Gmail, you can set up filters to sort incoming mail to those addresses in different ways (Settings > Filters). So you could use the technique to sign up to mailing lists using variants of your normal address, and check whether those services have sold on your address to unscrupulous third parties.

Like everything, it’s not foolproof, but it’s handy.

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