The Gmail + Operator

I’m probably just woefully ignorant of the ins and outs of the SMTP protocol but I discovered something rather nice about my gmail address today. It ignores everything after a +.

For example, if my email address is john.doe@gmail.com then john.doe+extra@gmail.com will still arrive at my gmail inbox unperturbed. I tried the same thing with Outlook and had no such luck however.

Why should I care?

Well if you’re the kind of person who cares about who is spamming you, just sign up to new or untrusted sites with the site name after the +.

For example: sign up to dodgy.com using john.doe+dodgy.com@gmail.com and now when you get an email to that address from http://www.spammer.com offering to sell you something to put the pole-volt back in your lovelife you know who sold your email.

Obviously it doesn’t stop the spam, but you can vote with your feet and abandon dodgy.com for their eponymous dealings. And of coarse enterprising spammers can strip out the stuff after the +, so it’s not a cure-all, but it’s a neat trick to use against the unwary email hawker.

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One Response to The Gmail + Operator

  1. Hi! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me
    of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will
    have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

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