Do you have a Gmail account? Gmail Accounts are free, give you lots of storage, and can be used like a regular email account in your Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Thunderbird or other email program. You can get a Gmail account free simply by signing up for one – just visit this page.
For those who already have a Gmail account or if you just got one, here’s a tip that will really help you organize your email and even keep track of what sign-ups have caused you to receive the most spam.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say you joined Jumping Judy’s Jasmine Graphics mail list. You could sign up with your Gmail address – firstname.lastname@example.org or you could sign up for a newsletter with yourname+Jumping_Judys@gmail.com . That’s right! By adding the + and a brief identifier, you can sort email and tell if someone has sold or given your email address to others (assuming you don’t use the same identifier for more than one thing). Make sure your unique identifier does not contain spaces. You can connect-words-with-dashes_or_underscores_though
If you joined Great Gordy’s NASCAR Mailing List you might want to use yourname+Great_Gordys@gmail.com . Or if you have a PayPal account you might want to use yourname+Paypal@gmail.com .
Then you can set filters in Gmail and create folders for each special identifier. Setting filters might sound complicated, but it’s not. Not with Gmail. Just log into your Gmail Account and click “Create a filter” (near the top). It’s very easy. Gmail walks you though it, believe us, no special skills needed!
By filtering your email by the “To” Field (like all mail addressed to yourname+Jumping_Judys@gmail.com would go into the folder you create for Jumping Judy’s. For example, using the information above, you could have a folder called Jumping-Judys, one called Great-Gordys, and one called “PayPal”. And by setting Gmail’s easy-to-use filters (rules) you can make all email addressed to yourname+Paypal@gmail.com go directly into your “PayPal” folder, all your mail addressed to yourname+Great_Gordys@gmail.com go directly to you Great-Gordys folder and so on.
Another good thing about this way of tracking your email is that if your + address gets stolen, you can have all mail coming to that account sent automatically to your spam folder. For instance if you have an account called email@example.com – and someone steals that address and floods it with spam, you can have Gmail automatically put all mail that comes to that account in your spam folder while having no affect on your firstname.lastname@example.org address.
In light of the recent theft of tens of millions of email addresses from an email marketer used by CapitalOne, Verizon, Best Buy, Disney, Walgreens and many other well known companies, you can already see how it would be handy to have, for instance, a email@example.com address. You could have all mail coming to that account sent to your spam folder and change your email address with CapitalOne to firstname.lastname@example.org – and all mail from CapitalOne to that address would go into your inbox.
It’s a great way to control, keep track and organize your email. It’s also a great way to see if someone is selling, renting or giving away your email address to others. Just be careful you don’t use the same identifier more than once. So with one single Gmail account you can actually have as many unique “email addresses” as you want. It’s limited only by your requirements and your imagination!