Fighting Spam: Disposable E-mail Addresses to the Rescue

Featured, Misc, Privacy Issues

Fighting Spam: Disposable E-mailSubscriptions are everywhere nowadays whenever you go to some random internet sites: whether it is for subscribing to newsletters and offer, opening an account on any websites and community sites. Learn about disposable e-mail.

As if it weren’t enough, they even politely invite you to “find your friends” by asking to access your address book so that they check if some of your friends are already using that same network.

Most of the time, the lambda user doesn’t even think about it and, without even considering the consequences of his act, he innocently gives away his e-mail address so as to be able to subscribe to one online service, then …. then he ends up receiving a lot of e-mails that don’t necessarily pertain to his interest. So he ends up deleting (or ignoring) more emails than he reads in one day.

Use dummy email address for subscriptions

Some more clever user has just created some free internet-based e-mails (from Yahoo, Gmail, …) for all those subscriptions. I, for example, have one e-mail address that is solely used for subscription purposes: whenever I want to create an account on one online service (or I want to get a sneak preview that needs some subscription), I use that e-mail account. In fact, the scenario is almost always the same:

  • the online site asks you to fill some information about you (at least an e-mail address and a password),
  • then it sends you an e-mail with a link to click on it so as to confirm that it actually is a working e-mail address
  • once you activated your account by clicking the activation link, there usually is no critical need to check that e-mail address anymore since you would be able to do everything from inside the online site

So, my dummy address is only used for activation purposes. I recently checked that e-mail address, and I found out that sites I subscribed for keeps on sending me multiple e-mails even though I didn’t check it for a long time.

Better: disposable e-mails

But then I stumbled upon some new services that even get things easier: disposable e-mails. Well, I don’t know what’s the business model for those kind of services, but they are great for testing out those sites: in case you really want to stick with one online site, I guess you can always change the official e-mail address associated with it so that you get the notifications and any other communications.

Disposable e-mail services

If you google for “disposable e-mails” you’ll find plenty of solutions that go from “10-minute mail” (that is actually only available for 10 minutes, which is plenty of times to receive the activation link), to “My trash mail” that is only available for three days.

If we take the SpamGourmet example, it’s quite interesting since you can create temporary and automatically checked for spam e-mail addresses similar to “someonlinesite.3.myaccount@spamgourmet.com” that you can “give” to the site “someonlinesite.com”. It will only handle 3 e-mails from that site (and eventually forward it to your actual address depending on how you configured it)

Frankly, this can be useful, especially for bargain hunters that give away their e-mail address to every site that give them some discount in exchange for some personal information.

What do you think about those solutions?

Do you think they are worth using? or do you think your native anti-spam solution that comes with your current e-mail system is doing fine?

 

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