Do you need to enter an email to sign up for something, but would rather not be spammed? No problem!

Spam

-noun

Super pestiferous anti matter

-verb

I want to hurt someone

….Okay on the serious note: we have all encountered spam. Yes even you (although you may not know in which case I ask you “have you checked your bank account lately?”). I read somewhere, on BBC I believe, that 97% of all emails sent are spam. Go figure.

Usually spam is generated by signing up for forums, signing up for special offers, registering at websites, etc. If you have to enter your email somewhere, chances are better then not that you will receive some sort of spam from that website/company/entity (please note that dotTech.org will not spam you in any shape form or fashion so you do not have to be afraid of entering your real email here; however you don’t have to). That being said, with so much spam circulating the internets, many anti-spam techniques have been pioneered. One popular method is to just create a “spam email”. In other words, create something like “spamaccountblahblah@hotmail.com” and use that email to sign up for all the forums, special offers, etc. that ask for your email . However what if you don’t want to create a separate spam email account? What if you just need a temporary email account to sign up for a forum to make that one post, or to sign up for a special offer and receive that coupon, freebie, or [insert here]? Well if you fall in the category of the latter (“I want a temporary account”), today I am here to tell you about two web services that you can use to help you combat spam:

Mailinator.com (thx Frank)

2009-04-14_012146

Mailinator.com is a website that allows you to create email address (no signup/registration required) and receive email to that email address. However you can only receive emails, not send them; also, your email inbox can be checked by anyone (there is no “password protection”) but all emails are automatically deleted within a few hours:

Mailinator is fundamentally quite different from other services. Other services like Gmail or Yahoo allow you to actually send email. You cannot send email from Mailinator. After a few hours, all email is auto-deleted. A Mailinator email inbox can be read by anyone. There is no real security here. Mailinator has strict rules about what kind of email it receives. Plain text is best, html is filtered. Images, attachments, and fancy stuff are simply stripped away.

The upside is that Mailinator requires no sign-up. Send email to a name, and the account is created automagically.

In a nutshell, other services provide more functionality but require a sign-up (which takes time, even if you falsify all the information anyway). Mailinator provides less, but requires no sign-up.

10MinuteMail.com

10MinuteMail works in a different way than Mailinator; 10MinuteMail is more of the traditional type of email service. When you visit 10MinuteMail.com a unique email address is assigned to you (no sign up or registration necessary). Email addresses are assigned via a temporary cookie that is stored in your web browser so only you can access your email address/inbox. Unlike Mailinator, you can send and receive (reply to) emails. However the catch is that your email address/inbox will only last for 10 minutes and then it will be deleted (you can request extra time if you need it).

2009-04-14_013505

Personally I like 10MinuteMail more than Mailinator simply because no one but me can access my emails. However both are good and useful services.

So I just told you about the two services I know that help you combat spam. I am sure there are many more out there. Any particular services you use? Please post below. :)

Share this post

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

33 comments

  1. gv

    are you kidding ?!
    From Malinator : ” How do I create an account at Mailinator? It’s simple, you just send email to it. Temporary accounts are created when email arrives for them. ”
    In other words give us your email to have a fake one..
    Do they think we are stupid ?!!

    Globally : and what about inscription wich sends back passwords ?

  2. Bob

    Quite funny in this day and age that people fight spam by… not using spam filters?! Why not save yourself the trouble and time by using white lists on your main e-mail accounts? That way, only people who you know would have your e-mail address (and thus you can put them on the white list), and even if some bot managed to guess your e-mail address randomly, everything gets thrown into the spam box regardless.

  3. Roy Smith

    I would just like to know if anyone can tell me how I could POP the emails in @mailinator.com to my IncrediMail?

    When I put in my @mailinator.com email acct IncrediMail set me up to “wer” and “ewr” @mailinator and whatever that means I don’t know but it didn’t work!

    Any help from anyone would be greatly appreciated as I’m an ancient person and only been computing for a year.

    Plus where is the access for @mailinator on this site please? I can not seem to find it

  4. Frank

    Thank you, Stockel1949!

    Whilst having the same advantages as mailinator Yopmail is much more convinient and versatile.
    - mails are stored for 5 days nstead of a few hours
    - it’s easier to delete mails
    - you can view the full HTML mail if you decide to do so
    - you can manually forward the mail
    - you can view mail headers

    I think I’ll use Yopmail in future.

    @Ashraf: You see, it’s not about me and ‘my’ mailinator :)

  5. Frank

    @Bob:
    You’re right, Spamgourmet is a good solution.

    The huge gain over mailinator is “Push Mail” – as soon as a mail comes in you geht it with your normal mail. Despite mailinator.com which is “Pull Mail” – you have to actively check their web page for mail.

    Unfortunately Spamgourmet has some drawbacks: Whoever knows Spamgourmet is able to build as much new email addresses as he wants from your single known address.
    You gave out
    frombigcorp.3.spamcowboy-AT-spamgourmet.com
    I spam you at
    frombigcorpa.20.spamcowboy-AT-spamgourmet.com
    frombigcorpb.20.spamcowboy-AT-spamgourmet.com
    frombigcorpc.20.spamcowboy-AT-spamgourmet.com
    frombigcorpd.20.spamcowboy-AT-spamgourmet.com
    frombigcorpe.20.spamcowboy-AT-spamgourmet.com
    frombigcorpf.20.spamcowboy-AT-spamgourmet.com
    frombigcorpg.20.spamcowboy-AT-spamgourmet.com
    .
    .
    .
    Once the spammers found that out it helped them to generate profitable addresses to be sold to the “vendors”
    To fight that you had to use the “secret word” feature on their web site. And if the above happens you just change the secret word.

    Also Spamgourmet is easier traceble back to you. Surely with some effort, but tracable back to you.
    Especially if you “commit crime” (to enter falsified data in a web form is a crime in many countries – no matter how untrustworthy the counterpart appears to you) you would not want to face that risk for almost no gain.

    So Spamgourmet – as convinient as it is w/o a doubt is IMHO to be seen with care.
    I use it only when I want “Push Mail” like to be nofified of answers in forums like this.

    Frank

  6. Dan

    Ashraf’s editorial note FYI to everyone: Emailias.com is a paid service.


    My choice is http://www.emailias.com You get unlimited email forwarding addresses, you can delete, disable, or retire your addresses.

    from website:
    What does it mean to “Retire an Emailias”?
    Every emailias can be “retired”. It is a new way to help get rid of spam. It’s sort of like deleting an emailias, but anybody who sends an email to the retired emailias will receive a message back, letting them know that you changed your email address and that they can get the new one by visiting a web page.

    There is a browser button that lets you create new email addresses on the fly, and keep track of the website you were on when you created them.

    You can also use your own custom domain if you wish instead of theirs, and many more things that I’m sure I’ve missed.

    The cost is $20 usd per year, they have a 60 day free trial, and you can extend your trial period for a year with a coupon.

    coupon name is “dollar” without the quotes (I would have created a free coupon, but emailias will not allow anything below $1)

  7. tom

    I like mailinator better – you don’t have to visit mailinator.com first, you can make up anything you want on the fly and use it first, check it later. And you can pick something so obscure its unlikely anyone else would guess it ( fred33bob@mailinator.com).

    Also, Mailinator email lasts a few hours, not just 10 minutes.

  8. Bob

    Spamgourmet.com is a nice solution.

    From their site: There is nothing to install on your computer, and once you’re set up, it’s likely you won’t ever have to come back here. This is what makes spamgourmet one of the most convenient and effective anti-spam tools available.

    Protect yourself from spam in three easy steps:

    1. If you haven’t done it yet, create a spamgourmet account. Enter your user name and the email address you want to be protected. You will be asked to identify the word in a picture and pick a password.

    2. Spamgourmet will forward to this address all the emails sent to your spamgourmet disposable addresses — that way you don’t have to tell anyone else what it is — this is why it’s called the protected address. Of course, this protected address must exist. That’s why you have to confirm it. You’ll receive an email asking you to confirm.

    3. After you have confirmed your protected address, you can give out self-destructing disposable email addresses whenever you want. The disposable addresses are like:

    someword.x.user@spamgourmet.com

    where someword is a word you have never used before, x (optional) is the number of email messages you want to receive at this address (up to 20, and the number 3 will be used if you leave it out), and user is your username.

    For example, if your user name is “spamcowboy”, and BigCorp wants you to give them your email address (on the web, on the phone, at a store – it doesn’t matter), instead of giving them your protected address, give them this one:

    frombigcorp.3.spamcowboy@spamgourmet.com
    (and frombigcorp.spamcowboy@spamgourmet.com will work the same way)

    This disposable email address will be created here the first time BigCorp uses it (you don’t have to do anything to create it), and you’ll receive at most 3 messages, forwarded to your protected address. The rest will be indelicately consumed.

  9. Ozzie

    Hi Ashraf. As a devoted Firefox user, I find the Tempomail add-on perfect for this. And being able to use it directly from the browser itself is really handy. Now if only spammers would stop sending me viagra emails …. !

  10. Frank

    regarding “anyone can read your email” with mailinator.com:
    1st) You can delete the received messages after you read them
    2nd) If you choose a name like fr49ed@mailinator.com it is very very unlikely that anyone else will check your mails. One has to check the correct box to see “your” mail
    3rd) one would not use public boxes for secret, personal emails. Just for “signups” with companies one does not want give real name, address, email and so on.

    So all that lasts is that you cannot reply. But of how much use is a mailbox that you have to check every 10 minutes to receive the mail?
    I see it with services sending mail to any of my real mail boxes. Often there is more delay than 10 minutes between the signup and the email. My preference is 100% mailinator.com.

  11. Frank

    just another tip for mailinator.com:
    Some providers already block the domain “mailinator.com” as well as some of their replacement domains from being entered into forms or being served (sent email to).
    You can let any domain name point to mailinator.com (66.135.60.177). So if you own the domain “mydomain.com” create a new A-record for the host “mymail.mydomain.com” and let it point to 66.135.60.177
    (if you don’t own a domain use a free dyndns service as No-IP.com to create a static host).

    Now you can use AnyName@mymail.mydomain.com and look the mails up at http://AnyName.mailinator.com

    Frank