An idea for managing accounts and email spam

I was walking to lunch earlier this week with Brian Haven and he told me about a simple, clever tactic he uses to manage account logins and email spam.

Background – last time I moved, I changed the name on my magazines to my dogs.  Since then, they’ve gotten various offers in the mail.  Most recently, Lucy received a trial membership to a women’s fitness club.  (She does need to lose a few pounds…)

So Brian mentioned how he’s doing this with email.  The basic concept is to set up an email address for every account you have that requires a login.  So if you own the domain "" then you’d set up email addresses like [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] This means you:

  • Don’t have to remember what address you used to sign up for a service
  • Can isolate messaging by account and track back to source
  • Have less likelihood that an email address you really like will end up on a spam list
  • Will feel good about putting extra functionality to use that you already pay for

There are some variations to this (e.g. forwarding, catchalls), but that’s the basic concept.  If you don’t own your own domain name already, you can get a one year *.info at GoDaddy for US$3.19.

I know some people use a free email account for all signups, order confirmations, etc.  But sometimes there are account-specific emails that you may want to receive.  We may never be able to filter every spam email in the world, but I thought this idea was cool because it’s got more than one purpose.

Anybody have refinements to add?  Been doing this and found any drawbacks to share?