In case you didn’t know, Gmail (by far the most-used email service in the world
) has a nifty trick you can use to manage your inbox AND potentially provide some privacy benefits, although this last claim is more theoretical.
By simply adding a + symbol at the end of your username, you can add whatever you want (minus spaces or special characters) after it and still receive an email to that same inbox.
Where this becomes truly useful is filtering: for example, if you want to bypass a soft paywall on a news site, you often need to give up your email address to do so. Give the publication
then create a filter to send all emails sent to
to the trash.
Although some services have caught on and won’t allow the + symbol to appear, this is also a helpful hack to sign up for free trials.
And from a privacy perspective, adding the additional characters often breaks the matching algorithms of email systems, making it more difficult to associate it directly with your email address. However, I wouldn’t rely on this tactic to truly hide your email address as it’s still visible before the + sign.
Finally, any periods in a Gmail address are wholly superfluous and don’t affect delivery at all. So even if you signed up as
, you can tell people
(or vice versa) and it will still work just fine.
The blog post below dives in with a few more details/examples, but give it a try next time you’re giving your email address away!