Ways to create unique emails for sign ups (or, ways to limit spam on your email)

vyasvyas OGContent Writer
edited February 3 in Technical

How or what type of emails do you use for signing up for accounts with web hosts/ SAAS providers/ service providers (online and offline) in general ?

Some of the ways I have come across and or used are:

  1. Create a domain with multiple email accounts, one ID per provider (e.g. [email protected], [email protected])
  2. Using alias with existing email address like gmail, zoho, domain, etc. (e.g. [email protected]) Also See the comment from @Groentjuh below.
  3. Use an email relay or forwarding service like ImprovMX or Altmail (or others, pick your favourite)
  4. Using a temporary or disposable email (pick your favourite)
  5. Using anti spam software (which one?? )
  6. Use a Faux email address (I call this the Duh! method - basically two accounts with same or different providers, one email is the 'front face' other is the real email that you use. Set up forward from the front face to the real email account)

As of this morning IST,
I finished the draft of a post this morning on a related topic, in which I list the above 6 options. The post ran to over 3,700 words, so will not bother you with a link right now. Maybe the finished version.

Then I saw this post by @Groentjuh int he offer thread
https://talk.lowendspirit.com/discussion/comment/55594/#Comment_55594

[email protected] will just go to [email protected] It's a simple way to allow you to use "unique" emails for each sign-up. In case of gmail, it also ignores any dots. So [email protected] will also go to [email protected] Alternative options are having an catch-all email account on their own domains or creating aliases for each service.

Since the two are quite related, I decided to post this discussion, with the below questions:

  1. Are there any other methods that you use?
  2. Which is your preferred system for masquerading or protecting real email(s) ?
  3. Which of the above 6 methods in your opinion are suitable for beginners intermediate/advanced?

Thanks !

Comments

  • For nonsense stuff, I use one nonsense Gmail account (that I log into once in a few months and delete everything).

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    Mostly harmless ™
    I/O Gremlin

  • I have 3 mail address,
    1. One for real life important emails, tax, bank etc.
    2. Catch-all domain mail for Internet identity, that is, Elliot. I rarely use this name in real life anymore.
    3. cheap domain (number .xyz) with catch-all for weird website (for example, Sisters ), another mask under the mask

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    Be aware or Be next

  • vyasvyas OGContent Writer
    edited February 3

    @elliotc said:

    1. Catch-all domain mail for Internet identity, that is, Elliot. I rarely use this name in real life anymore.

    I can see why

  • @vyas said:

    @elliotc said:

    1. Catch-all domain mail for Internet identity, that is, Elliot. I rarely use this name in real life anymore.

    I can see why

    The main reason is that this name is a little difficult to pronounce and rare, I do not want to have to repeat myself several times each time I introduce myself.
    My name come from this little boy

    Be aware or Be next

  • I personally use a mix for 'real' services:

    • Catch-all domain
    • "Plus addressing" ([email protected])
    • Email forwarding service (such as AnonAddy - I'm sure there are other similar ones too).

    If there are sites that ask for an email address for downloads (one that comes to mind is DaVinci Resolve), to sign you up for newsletters or whatever, I just use temporary email services with bogus information.

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    Website: thomassen.sh

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  • edited February 3

    It really depends on what I want to do:

    • Given I own several domain-names and can configure emails/make aliasses really simply (API's FTW) I nowadays mostly follow the pattern #service# @ #frontname#.#lastname#.#extension# or #service# @ #nickname#.#extension# . #service# would actually be an created alias, so you cannot just try everything. The disadvantage is of course that this needs a little bit of setup for each service, so it might not be as easy to use. The advantage is that when I'm done with a service or notice abuse, I will just remove the alias and be done with that service. They will get a nice reject with that the email does not exist, which many newsletter services will quickly get you removed from their lists. If you have access to an email system able to do that, then this gives you most control, but also requires "most work". It's impossible to automatically identify this trick and find the actual main account using this pattern. Depending on your setup, you can even reply from the right alias, so they never get your main email! The method also will pass all email validation. No special characters and enough freedom to even give a samsung account, a properly identifiable email. (Samsung does not allow "samsung" in the users email address).
    • The same as above can of course also work without aliases, but using catch-all email address. Most of the advantages still apply with the same naming schema. Another advantage is that using this method you do not need any setup for each service. If you have an advanced enough email service and can control its filters, when you're done with a service, you can blacklist a specific service, so the same rejects from the emailserver will appear as mentioned above. It's also still impossible to find the main address automatically, but given it's a catch-all it is easier to possibly reach you anyway. A minor disadvantage is that generic emails ([email protected] or [email protected]) might actually give you some spam, so please remind to blacklist [email protected] or [email protected] and such generic email addresses from reaching your catch-all. Depending on your setup, you can even reply from the right alias, so they never get your mail email!
    • When you do not want to setup/rent your own domain + mailservice (or rent a mailservice which allows you to do above mentioned stuff), you will still have a few tricks. You can do #google account name#+#service#@gmail.com or use additional dots added in your google account name to create more different names. So [email protected] and [email protected] are both seen as [email protected] These will all just end up in your gmail account. Not all email services do this, so you will have to see if your specific email service support this. The advantage is of course that you do not really need to do any work for this, if supported. If you have an email service that allows this, you can just start doing this. The disadvantage is that if someone wants, he can just undo these changes for all gmail accounts in their mailinglist/spamlist/attacklist and reach you. Blocking emails for a service is still easy. A simple filter for "to: service email" -> "Recycle" is all you need to do that. Sadly that will not product rejection from the email server, so they will happily continue sending stuff to your trashcan! Sadly this method has another disadvantage: Some services simply CANNOT handle special characters. The good ones will give you validation errors. Bad ones will allow using the + sign, but will just break further down the line. I even have a newsletter from a service that could handle the + sign on sign-up, but not for unsubscribing! I've had customer services ask me for other email addresses, because they back-end systems would invalidate emails with special characters, which meant they could not save any changes without changing the email account! Most services sadly will not make it possible to reply using the same + tagged email, so this is mostly receive only!
    • The last option when something I actually do not really want to supply my email to something (like for downloading some utility that requires you to leave your name + email before downloading) I will either use one of my temporary email services. Some email services actually offer a temporary email feature! For example the docker based mailserver mailcow allow its users to make a temporary email with just a few clicks in the user control panel. Such temporary email will even be removed automatically after the set time. Also no way to reply here of course (unless your service is epic/self hosted and allow that too, but why would they)!

    I aim to mostly use options 1 and 4, but used option 3 before and still sometimes do.

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  • vyasvyas OGContent Writer
    edited February 3

    Good points in this disc so far! I use Improvmx for relay, and a couple of domain emails for logins including here. Also use lastmx sometimes

    Trying to limit number of email accounts used (20 plus at last count)

    p.s: here is the post I wrote : :
    (disclaimer: wall of text!) some images will appear broken but that is by design.

    https://app.simplenote.com/publish/GFLd5Y

    Or you can read the post on my blog with better formatting and images

  • I use service @ customdomain aliasses as well. Since every service has it's unique alias, you can instantly identify the origin of spam and change the alias.

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  • SimpleLogin (https://simplelogin.io/) is great for this.

    Thanked by (2)ferri Ouji
  • Like others, I also use the plus addressing. That way I can filter objects out of my inbox into various sub-folders automagically on the server side.

  • Fastmail.
    You can create up to 600 alias per account on any of their +100 public domains (Or using your custom domains).
    They also support Plus addressing (+) and subdomain addressing.
    For example, let's say I created this alias: [email protected], I could do [email protected] and/or [email protected]
    So basically you'll have unlimited aliases and you could reply from any alias, whether it's a normal alias, plus address or even a subdomain address.
    All my emails are randomly generated and I use a unique email for every account.
    I used services like SimpleLogin and AnonAddy in the past, but right now I don't see a reason to use them anymore since I can do the same thing with Fastmail.
    Personally I don't like the Plus addressing method, since it would be pretty easy to get the real email, same goes for Gmail dot addresses.
    [email protected] would be as bad cause it will be easy to guess the emails for other services and catch-all emails are a spam magnet.

    • [email protected] for friends and family
    • [email protected] for business related
    • [email protected] for things like this forum, not really personal neither business, but not really junk or spam either.
    • [email protected] for junk and registration. I have built a script that allows me to simply take any mail in my inbox folder and put it into a folder called "Junk" and it will pike up the email, extract sender and add it to my postfix blocklist. I also have a folder called "Kill" that instead extracts the receiving address, that is my catchall address, and adds that to the blocklists. So if a receive a lot of spam on [email protected], I simply drag one of the emails to the "Kill" folder and I will never get an email on that address again.
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  • edited February 3

    a use-for-all email to sign up for anything
    and then change to important email address if the service is indeed in need
    there isnt much account that does not allow email change, so this works for me most the time
    i have a bout 5 emails for important stuff and have those forward to one address for easier management

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  • vyasvyas OGContent Writer

    @forces said:
    a use-for-all email to sign up for anything
    and then change to important email address if the service is indeed in need
    there isnt much account that does not allow email change, so this works for me most the time
    i have a bout 5 emails for important stuff and have those forward to one address for easier management

    Particulary in the SaaS space where the providers have sold accounts at a discount- many have started disabling the email change. But yes, makes sense overall. Using a relay or throwaway email for trial accounts.

  • edited February 4

    @vyas said:

    @forces said:
    a use-for-all email to sign up for anything
    and then change to important email address if the service is indeed in need
    there isnt much account that does not allow email change, so this works for me most the time
    i have a bout 5 emails for important stuff and have those forward to one address for easier management

    Particulary in the SaaS space where the providers have sold accounts at a discount- many have started disabling the email change. But yes, makes sense overall. Using a relay or throwaway email for trial accounts.

    in most cases these providers will approve an email change if proper documentations are provided
    after all, in such cases i do really want to have a proper business with them, and all details are true and only email change is needed

  • deankdeank OGOfficial Troll

    I set up really strict rules for my main e-mail.

    1. 1 hr spam folder deletion. (wanted 1 min but an hour was minimum)
    2. Word filter set for mail title. Commonly used spam words are set so that mails are deleted on spot. They don't even go to spam folder. It's just gone.
    3. It's also set to receive mails from only certain domains.
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    The Amitz day is October 21. ♻ I call people by their soulname.

  • I use simplelogin, was able to get an account due to my student status and I use a @d.mydomain.tld as the disposable. You can just disable it when it gets spammy.

  • @vyas said:
    How or what type of emails do you use for signing up for accounts with web hosts/ SAAS providers/ service providers (online and offline) in general ?

    1. Create a domain with multiple email accounts, one ID per provider (e.g. [email protected], le[email protected])

    I use a variant on this, enabling catchall on the domain, but throwing away anything without a period in the username. So [email protected] delivers but [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] don't. I can then give a unique e-mail to every signup without any effort, and blacklist the rare abusers.

    For time based e-mails, e.g. competition entries or short lived memberships, I used to also set up alias subdomains say [email protected] with some subdomain scheme that relates to months, here gamma = March, then pull the MX records at the end of the relevant month, using a new naming scheme each year. That said I often forgot to kill the subdomain and am amazed how little marketing mail competition entries actually attract.

  • I use my own domains (personal.com, business.com, junk.com) and wrote a php interface on localhost to cpanel API on a simple shared hosting account, to manage individual forwarders which I create for every single service. config, addresses, usernames/passwords, notes for each login is stored in a json, locally, sync'd with google drive.

    If I start receviing spam to an address I can just change it and no more spam.

    I use thunderbird + virtual sender extension to be able to reply from any email addresses that the email was forwarded to. I believe that later versions have similar functions built in.

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