Feel Free to Spam Me

This is just beautiful. If you’re anything like me I’m sure you’ve used services like Mailinator for those pesky situations when you *must* supply an email address but you really don’t want to. You know the consequences can be a never-ending barrage of spam to the account – I can testify to this with my original Hotmail account which is pretty much overrun with offers to meet with lonely girls in my area, Viagra, virus cures and methods to enhance my abilities. What did I do? I created another Hotmail account which I guard with my life.

In fact only yesterday, on a publishing website I had to provide an email address to download an eBook. I didn’t want to provide my “real” email address but at the same time it’s not appropriate to use a service like Mailinator as everyone has access to your mails. I’d be receiving account details and a download link to an eBook – clearly inappropriate for “public” consumption. So what did I do? I created another Hotmail account, this time with the _spam suffix – something like MyUsualEmailAddressSpam@hotmail.com.

Not exactly ideal – it’s another account to monitor and another password to remember. I now keep a OneNote list of all my Hotmail accounts so I remember to add them all back to Live Mail when I rebuild my machine!

Today, Hotmail announced aliases. If only I’d known this was coming I could have saved myself all that hassle yesterday. An alias lets me create a new email address and associate it with my existing Hotmail account. Then, when I’m done with it, I just throw it away and create another. (There’s a limit of 5 new aliases per year and a max of 15 on an account).

Imagine my current Hotmail email address is MikeyO@hotmail.co.uk (it isn’t BTW – sorry if yours is). I could create MikeyOSpam@hotmail.co.uk. Or I could be a bit more adventurous and go with ViagraMagnet@hotmail.co.uk. Either way, I can safely give out this email address knowing there’s no way to determine my “real” email address, I can switch them off whenever I want to (and filter on them in my inbox of course) and conveniently they all go to the same account so only one username / password to remember.

That is a thing of beauty and a poke in the eye for all those spammers out there. Nice one Hotmail.

You can start creating aliases here.