Nowadays, the RSS feeds are not that popular anymore. Most websites ask for your email address instead.
“Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe,” they keep yelling at you, often while offering a freebie in return. It can be an ebook, a report, a course, or a simple discount.
And the reward you’re promised to receive in return is only a couple of keystrokes away. There’s only one problem…
Let’s say the webmasters deliver on the promise of only sending you the kind of things you’re interested in and never spamming you.
But nothing is stopping your email address from being leaked to the public if the sender’s website gets hacked. In the bat of an eye, your email address could find itself on a spam list. It means that your inbox would be full of advertisements you’ve never signed up for.
Therefore, you should think twice when sharing your primary email, the one you use for meaningful conversations.
Of course, you might be dying to see what’s inside that freebie report or an ebook. After all, no doubt, it promises to enlighten you on a subject you’re interested in.
Should you pass up on the opportunity only to protect your privacy more?
No need. The solution is to either use a secondary email address you don’t care about or create a disposable one.
But if you’re reluctant to go through the hassle of opening a whole new email account for this purpose, there’s a third way. You can modify your existing email when giving it away. Since this method is the fastest and easiest to use, let’s cover it first:
The next time you’re about to give your email away, instead of typing your regular address, you can input a modified version of it instead.
(If you’re not using Gmail, feel free to skip this section and move on to the next one down below.)
Here’s how it works.
Let’s say your address is [email protected]. Instead of finishing it off with a regular ‘gmail.com’ domain name, input something like +example.gmail.com. So in this case, the full address would be [email protected]+example.gmail.com (where ‘example’ can be any custom tag you think of).
Although the promotional emails would still appear in your inbox, there will be a custom label attached to them. It makes them easy to block or dispose of should you no longer wish to appear in the subscription list.
As luck would have it, many disposable email services providers exist. They are created by those who are on a similar mission as you – to keep spam at bay.
Testers or reviewers often have to sign up for an account at various websites they have no intention of re-visiting. So having a throwaway email address available is a godsend.
Since there are so many providers, it’s up to you to google one of them yourself. But for the most part, the step-by-step procedure is similar to all:
- Visit the temporary email provider’s website and click ‘OK’ or anything related you might find. In some cases, you get the disposable email address immediately upon visiting.
- After that, the website will generate a disposable email address containing random characters – for example, [email protected]. You should either write it down or copy.
- Use the generated email address to subscribe to the website and receive that freebie you wanted. The emails from webmaster will appear on the same page you got the email address from.
- Leave the site and don’t worry about ever again. You can create another temporary email whenever you want.
Do note that these inboxes tend to self-destruct after a while. How long it exists depends on the provider. Some clients allow you to choose the time you need the inbox for. It could be anywhere from five minutes to two weeks.
Make sure to read your emails or confirm your accounts before you lose access to the inbox.
Which provider to use? The famous 10 Minute Mail is as good of an option as any. But again, feel free to google your own.
Either way, this method works across all devices and browsers. And it’s rather practical since there’s nothing to install (as long as you have a working browser anyway).
Many of these websites that ask for your email address also contain ads or implant a cookie on your device through which they can track you. So it’s also a good idea to use a VPN service (https://nordvpn.com/download/) whenever you’re surfing the web.
It will create an additional layer of privacy, hiding your online activities from the advertisers and webmasters. After all, they can be tracking your online activities for various purposes. Improving the functionality of their website is only the tip of an iceberg.
Disposable email addresses are great for deterring unwanted advertisements and protecting your online privacy.
Your primary email should be a way to get in touch with your business partners, associates, friends, family members, and those you trust. Not to spammers, scammers, and advertisers.
Remember that the next time you wonder whether to give some website or service your email address.