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Secret email address in Gmail

Posted: Feb 22, 2018

Secret email address in Gmail

John M. Haddad

Do you know that your Google Mail, or Gmail, account has an infinite number of email addresses built into it?  That’s right!  Your one Gmail address can become thousands of email addresses.

How do I use multiple email addresses?

It’s actually pretty simple.  Let’s say your Google email address is john33@gmail.com.  All you need to do is add a “+” (plus sign) after the first part of the email adddress, then add any word or text you want before the “@” sign.

For example, let’s say I was signing up for a chance to win an iPad on a website I frequent.  They require me to enter my email address.  However, I know when I give them my email address, I more than likely will get all kinds of marketing spam from them, after all, that’s why they want my email.

What I can do is give them an email address john33+iPad@gmail.com when I sign up.  Then, any email coming from them would come to my normal Gmail account, but would have the email address john33+iPad@gmail.com as the email address in the To field.

So, what is the advantage of doing this?

Google has a very powerful feature with filters.  You will find this on the More menu, then selecting Filter messages like these.  With filters, you can instruct Google that when a message comes in that was sent to john33+iPad@gmail.com, to skip the inbox and just send it Trash.

So, let’s say the iPad contest is over, however, you are still getting all kinds of marketing spam from vendors who are sending emails to john33+iPad@gmail.com.  You don’t want any of these messages any more.

Simply create a filter that states that any message sent to john33+iPad@gmail.com, skip the inbox and just delete it.  In this case, marketers can send you anything they want, however, you will never see it as it will go right to trash.

This is a simple case of using an email address for a one-time use.  There are many other cases where you may want to sign up for a newsletters and have all these newsletters go into a folder (label) called Newsletters.  In that case, I would sign up for the newsletter with something like john33+newsletter@gmail.com.  Then, when create a filter that states that when an email comes in addressed to john33+newsletter@gmail.comskip the inbox and apply the label Newsletters.  What this will do is when emails come in, they will remain unread but will immediately appear in your Newsletters folder.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.  This method is a great way to keep your inbox clean and control the use of your email address.

Bottom line

Inbox management with email is something I take very seriously.  I try to find tips, techniques and tools that can help me better manage my inbox.  This trick of appending a “+” to the email address allows me to give out my email address with confidence.  If I’m getting too many emails from a particular vendor to one of my secondary email addresses and they don’t give me a way to stop getting them, I will then eventually write a rule to send the email to Spam.

I’m not sure if other services like Outlook, AOL, Yahoo, etc. offer a similar solution, but as a long time Google Mail user, this technique has been a huge productivity saver.

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Secret email addresses in Gmail

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About the author

John M. Haddad
John Haddad is the Principal and Owner of Bisinet Technologies, LLC. He has been in the Information Technology (IT) field for over 40 years. Over his career, he has held positions in all aspects of technology … programming, systems analysis, project management, infrastructure support, systems architecture, IT Management and web development. He continues to work with many small businesses and non-profits in the local area to provide technology consultation, web design and cloud solutions.
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