Let’s face it, we hate spam email. Yet, there isn’t really a definite solution in combating the problem. One can rely on email spam filters to do their job in netting the majority of junk mail that comes in and placing them in your junk mailbox. For example, Google’s Gmail email service has an excellent junk email filter. However, just because you don’t actually see the spam email in your inbox, you’re still not safe. Today I’ll be talking about a very interesting online service that anyone can immediately use to help combat spam! While a lot of you reading may think of spam email as just bothersome junk mail, have you ever considered ‘how’ that junk mail actually appeared or have found its way into your inbox in the first place? For example, if you signed up for a service at company ABC, why on earth should you be receiving email from company XYZ?
We are in the information age where social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook gives users the freedom to post whatever information they wish to and for anyone to see. This presents a problem once a unknown third party gets a hold of it. If that third party is a malicious individual or group, then they have that one piece linking back to your profile or identity. Think about it. What do you use your email for? Forum and website log on? How about using it to log on to your financial banking website? Once I have your email, I now have 1/2 pieces to crack into your account. If you have a weak password, well, I don’t think I need to spell out what can happen! However, I’m not saying that you must safeguard your email like your life depended on it. My point is that in this day and age, you need to carefully think about what kind of information you want to make available to the public and especially who you give it out to as well.
Trust me when I say that I know of many individuals that have literally dozens of email accounts because they want to have different profiles/personas in the online world. Casually using only one email account to sign up for everything you come across will only invite more spam to your inbox. There are two methods you can use to alleviate the situation. First, you can obviously create a bogus email account. By bogus, I mean a casual email account in which you use to sign up for well, whatever it is that you do online that requires an email address! This could be for creating a new forum account, signing up for newsletter alerts, downloading software from third party websites and even giving to strangers you meet online or in the real world. This has its benefits in that creating a email account from major sites like Gmail, Yahoomail and Hotmail have gotten extremely easy and not to mention, giving you tons of storage space by default. Most third party email services already have excellent spam filtering in place to protect you. You would obviously use a more personal email address for logging into your financial websites, various online shopping outlets and whatever services you deem private or confidential.
The second method, and our main topic of of this article, is to use a disposable email address. Whoever came up with this simple yet innovative idea really deserves some recognition. Disposable email is exactly as it sounds. Use it once and throw it away. Think of all the benefits this could bring you! First of all, there wouldn’t even be enough time for third parties to send you spam because your email account wouldn’t exist anymore! Second, anyone can use these services, which I’ll go over here. Armed with a disposable email address, you can have a peace of mind when signing up for services that you come across on the Internet.
This was the first service I’ve used since learning of the disposable email address business a couple of years ago. Unlike Mailinator in that you get to create your own address, 10MinuteMail will temporarily assign you a email address. You then copy that address and use it. As the name suggest, you have 10 minutes before that email address expires. 10 minutes is usually enough for the services you signed up for to email you their verification links or whatever but if you need more time, there is a option you can click on to instantly give you another 10 minutes.
Similar service to Mailinator. You can create whatever email address you want with the @maileater.com domain. Technically you can right now, without ever having stepped foot in their website, send a test email from one of your own email account to a name of your choosing to MailEater. After you send the email, head over and log in with corresponding email name and you would see the email you have just sent yourself. Very cool!
The cool feature about this service is that you actually get to set when your inbox will expire! So, you type in a name of your choosing, which will become firstname.lastname@example.org, and you then select the expiration time. You can choose from 30 minutes to one hour and even to one year!
There are other web companies offering similar services and doing a single Google search will no doubt give you a lot of results. However, in my opinion, all you need is to stick with one. Besides, your email is only ‘temporary’ so as long as it gets the job done, you shouldn’t have any problems. Although this doesn’t solve the email spam problems we face daily, it does help a lot. Remember, if you look at the bigger picture, spam email isn’t just a ‘bothersome’ problem, it is also a security one in that your email address ‘somehow’ ended up in the spammer’s hand. If you start utilizing disposable email addresses, you can start minimizing the damage. Besides, would you miss the opportunity to finally stick it back to the spammers?!