Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gmail Tips: Reducing Spam with Email Alias

Well, I always want an option of creating alias for reducing spam. For example, if my mail id is syed.mohasin.zaki@gmail.com then I also want an option to create an alias such as subscriptions.mohasin@gmail.com. The idea is, whenever I need to provide an email id for subscribing/registering in any website, I can always use my email alias. And when I see that I am getting lot of spams for a particular alias, then I can just go ahead and delete it. My original mail id is still unknown to spammers.

I could never find any support for email alias in gmail.

Sometime back, I read this post from Amit, where he explains how to generate email alias in gmail.

From his post, what i learnt is that, all our gmail ids have 2 domain names, one is "gmail.com" and other is "googlemail.com". For example, I would be having 2 mails address both pointing to my same gmail inbox - syed.mohasin.zaki@gmail.com and syed.mohasin.zaki@googlemail.com

So the idea is that we can use one gmail id (for example, syed.mohasin.zaki@googlemail.com) as an alias for our public domain and use the other one for close friends and family. Then I can filter mails from one of the mail domains and do whatever I want (archive it or delete it.. etc.)

But this concept is not useful when you want to have multiple aliases. Referring to Amit's earlier post, I found that we can have multiple aliases as well. All you need to do it that you add a '+' at the end of your gmail id followed by some meaningful tag. For example, if I want to subscribe to news alerts from The New York Times, then I would use an email alias such as this - syed.mohasin.zaki+newyorktimes@gmail.com.

Gmail basically ignores any that comes after the '+' symbol (including it). But the search inside gmail is capable of detecting this '+' and the tag that follows it. So you can filter mails coming to a particular alias and take action accrodingly.

Also read through the comments on Amit's post and you can see other suggestions on how to create email aliases for gmail. Most of the users were suggesting that gmail basically ignores the dot '.' in the user id. So basically, syed.mohasin.zaki@gmail.com is same as syedmohasinzaki@gmail.com or syedmohasin.zaki@gmail.com. So you can use this option also a way of creating aliases.

So go ahead and use email aliases and control the spam that comes to your inbox.

Note: Gmail in itself is good at detecting spam.

PS: syed.mohasin.zaki@gmail.com is not my real mail id :).


Anonymous said...

Nice tips

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Kapil said...

Another option is to create a separate mailbox for your common usage and set it up to forward all your mails to your main inbox.
You can even add the the common id in your private id so that you can even reply without signing in to the other id. Although if you open the email header you can see the original address.