Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jack of All Inboxes


  • Eliminate spam completely
  • Partially typo-proof your email address
  • Create yourself new email addresses on the fly – no messing with settings or accounts involved
  • Experience increased email security – never share your sign in name
  • Avoid annoying anonymous email services
  • Use your favorite mail client like you’ve always done

I doubt I'm the first one to think of this, but I've never heard of someone doing it before.

I've always tried to be judicious about where I stick my email address, especially my primary email address, but somehow I still get spam and I don't know where it comes from. New idea: enter stage left. One inbox to rule them all! or more specifically, one inbox with unlimited email addresses.

Here's how it works.

When you buy a domain name from Google (or probably from anyone else for all I know) there is an option to direct any emails that are sent to the domain with a nonexistent recipient to a ‘catch all’ account, as I call it. For example, if someone meant to send me an email and they sent it to instead of then that email would be directed to the ‘catch all’ inbox instead of my own inbox and instead of being rejected as undeliverable. You can set your own inbox as the ‘catch all’ account, or you can have an account set up just for the purpose of catching these. We can use this to our advantage.

Say you want to sign up for service on the internet, but they require you to click a link in a confirmation email and you suspect that the site will then spam you and distribute your email address to other spam engines. Suppose this service is offered by You can go ahead and sign up for this service with the email address of and the email will come to your ‘catch all’ account. If does start spamming you- even if they try to hide it by sending you spam from all kinds of deceptive sender addresses- then you’ll know it’s from them (or their associates) because it’s being sent TO Then you can easily filter into oblivion any emails sent to that address. Although it is better to unsubscribe, this is a method that will work even on email without an unsubscribe link. I use this even for reputable looking sites because there will inevitably be a time when a site fails to be as reputable as they seem and they end up giving my email address to a spam engine.

If there are multiple people on your domain who want to use this method, that should be no problem. Suppose that Jane and Tarzan are married and have email addresses and The administrator can set up a ‘catch all’ account with filters that forward all mail that comes with Tar.* to and all mail that comes in to grape.* can be forwarded to You probably didn’t realize how much Jane loves grapes until now. Now Jane can sign up for an account at using the address without fearing spam. Infinite obfuscation engenders ultimate security!

Speaking of COMSEC, Tarzan and Jane have a son, Jehoshaphat, who is a site security administrator and doesn’t have an account at all. His personal email address is something similar to He has emails forwarded to his preferred email service when they are addressed to fat.* The email address he gives out to his friends is A few of them have tried all kinds of hacks to sign into with all variations of the user name fat.KingOfTheWorld, without success.

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