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How you can use Email Aliases for Subscribing

Don’t compromise your email address to get information

Use case:

  • You want this great whitepaper but it comes with a price tag: you are asked for an email address. In fact you are really subscribing to a string of emails in the future. Download after download your inbox becomes more cluttered.
  • This new service seems cool but it is sure enough to take care of my most precious email address. What if it gets compromised, sold in the future.

How to:

First you need to have a gmail account. Most likely you have one and don’t use it much.

Let’s say your gmail address is bob.doe@gmail.com

Whenever you are asked for an email adress use a new alias by adding a + sign and a name that will easily remind you of the context.

  • For my twiitter account it will be bob.doe+twitter@gmail.com
  • For subscribing to a blog “newlearning.com” or commenting on it I will use bob.doe+newlearning@gmail.com

It must be a simple string, only letters and digits, no punctuation or special characters.

All emails will land into your inbox as usual, only the email appearance is affected. It’s explained in detail on a gmail answer about email alias¬†rarely noticed.

What are the benefits

  • It becomes easy to set rules in gmail for this subscription. If you use the tab inbox on gmail it will easier to ensure such emails ends un in social or promotion.
  • If the email is compromised you can directly send the email to trash.
  • If you only interest was a single download you can sent it to trash as well.
  • You can add tags automatically or forward emails automatically. A very productive tips is to use those tags afterward to setup folders named after moods like “reading when I feel bored” or “reading when I desire some inspiration” etc.. Like this you know those mails will not be on your way on normal work hours but will be easy to find when you look for a break.

Be nice! Don’t tag as spam or report lists you subscribed to voluntarily. Yes it bothers you but spam is “unsollicited”. Just trash it.

  • It’s a normal practice to spend hours writing valuable content to obtain email addresses. You obtained something you value, you paid you your email. This wil allow the site owner to engage a conversation to ead you down his sales funnel. Nothing wrong with that.
  • You can unsubscribe at any time. If the email is handled according to the laws and good practice there will be an unsubscribe link on each and every mail. If the list is hosted on reputed services like aweber, drip, mailchimp those requests are well honored.
  • Only if the email became compromised and misused, or if unsuscribing don’t work you can label it as spam.

Let’s stretch this learning a bit further

Mail alias a very common. Gmail force the use of the + sign, it’s not very discreet. I use a postfix mail server and I have more flexibility. If you are using other mail provider take a minute to search the documentation for “mail alias”, or ask your IT department to set one for you.

Because gmail is so much used it is likely many providers detect the + sign and trim the email address. It would be a hack on their side and a sign their practices are not very ethical. A mail redirection can help here.

If the email will be used to log in the service I keep a note with the link to the service, the email, the password

Service: twitter.com
Email: joe.doe+twitter@gmail.com
Pwd: jhgkjghjhghgjhgjh

Try something now:

Send yourself an email to a alias email. Use echo for the alias

Make sure you received it.

Forward to me the received email at brunowinck+echo@gmail.com and see how I used it in a link

Share you results on the “More” page

Apply this in your work today in 5 minutes:

Take an occasion today to subscribe or download something interesting using an alias email.

Share your observations on the “More” page.

That’s all Folks!

  • You learned the concept of alias emails and why to use them.
  • You know some of the guidelines of using email responsibly.
  • You experimented the new learning once.

Click here to read more or comment.

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This tips was part of our “Email” serie. Email is still an important mean for receiving push information