January 14, 2005

Disposable email addresses

Given the amount of spam I receive every day, I am extremely reluctant giving away my email address to untrusted parties, especially when I'm pretty sure these people should only ever use that email address once (to send me an activation code, for example).  Therefore, I was absolutely delighted when the first disposable email address service appeared (SpamGourmet) and especially when it was followed by two more (Mailinator and DodgeIt).  Here is a quick review of these three services.

  • SpamGourmet allows you to define an email address @spamgourmet.com with the syntax aWord.aNumber.yourUserName.  The word will typically be used to identify the service that will be trying to email you, the number is the number of times emails sent to that address will be delivered until they start bouncing, and your user name is... well, your own identifier.

    This solution works well but is a bit heavy.  First of all, I don't really care how many times this email address works, most of the time, once is enough and the rest is up to the server.  Second, I need to log in with a user name and a password, and again, I don't really see the need.
  • Enter Mailinator.  Mailinator takes the concept one step further by offering you passwordless email addresses.  You type in the user name, and you are automatically taken to the mailbox.  Obviously, you should never use this inbox for anything confidential, and if you can live with that, it's certainly a better solution than SpamGourmet.  It suffers from two shortcomings, though:  1) you can't easily bookmark the inbox, you need to go through the front page and then submit your name and 2) there is no easy way to be notified when the expected email has arrived.
  • DodgeIt to the rescue!  With its googleish minimalistic interface, dodgeit appealed to me right away, and the fact that it doesn't use any form allows you to bookmark any inbox (example).  But DodgeIt goes further by giving you an RSS feed to the mailbox.  This is the ultimate luxury in disposable addresses, since you obviously don't want to be notified by email.  Pick a carefully selected login name (you don't want to your reader to bother you if others happen to use the same inbox), point your RSS reader to it and voila!, you will never have to reload a browser waiting for an activation code.

Can anybody top DodgeIt?

Update from the comments:There is also ipoo as a good alternative to dodgeit.


Posted by cedric at January 14, 2005 10:54 PM

Great info. Exactly what I was looking for as well.

Posted by: erwin at January 14, 2005 12:34 AM

I have been using mailinator, but DodgeIt looks even better. Thanks Cedric!

Posted by: Dodger at January 14, 2005 01:29 AM

I use http://www.jetable.org/en/index

Give them a valid email and they give you a random email address. The idea is to forward mail to your valid address for the time period you specify, from 24 hours to 8 days. After that, you don't recieve anymore mail.

Thanks for the other info.

Posted by: Mike Wall at January 14, 2005 05:13 AM

You *can* bookmark mailinator's inboxes! Something like http://www.mailinator.com/mailinator/CheckMail.do?email=susgqgrsyhx does the trick!

Didn't know didgeit, though it looks cool, thanks!

Another one is http://www.jetable.org, which creates temporary personal mailboxes.

Posted by: at January 14, 2005 05:19 AM

MailBucket (http://www.mailbucket.org) was the first email-to-RSS gateway, as far as I know. Like Dodgeit, it provides both HTML and RSS representations of messages and mailboxes:

Mailbox index:

It has no functional advantages over Dodgeit's offering, but it seems quite a bit faster and - in my opinion - looks nicer. HTML attachments are stripped out of messages, which may be a disadvantage for some users.

Posted by: Tom Dyson at January 14, 2005 05:24 AM

Bloglines has this feature as well. You can create an semi-random email address that gets added to your feeds.

Posted by: Mark D at January 14, 2005 09:27 AM

Actually, a good tip to make sure you don't get a lot of spam just have an email address that is not in a dictionary of names. My mailservers get thousands of hits a day from botnets trying to send mail to a huge dictionary of different names @mydomain.com. Your name with a number attached to it isn't a bad place to start.

Posted by: Justin at January 14, 2005 10:44 AM

I seem to plug AlienCamel.com once every couple of months... but if you are looking for a email provider that has disposable email addresses, checkout AlienCamel. The temporary addresses bypass the spam filter and arrive directly in your inbox. The addresses are in the 123-456@aliencamel.com style, so it's unlikely a spammer is going to guess it.

Alien camel supports POP, IMAP and has a webmail interface, SSL encryption, unlimited storage.

I'm not affiliated with them in any way, just a very happy customer!

Posted by: James A. Hillyerd at January 14, 2005 07:13 PM

Also try sneakemail.com.

Posted by: David at January 17, 2005 11:51 AM

I simply use my Yahoo! email, there spam filter is pretty good. I get 60-80 spams/day on that email, and only 1-2 from time to time in my inbox.
I hope that GMail spam filter is very good also, so that I can use it everywhere !

Posted by: Frédéric at January 18, 2005 03:08 AM

Bloglines lets you set up a email address(es) as a news feed in bloglines - I forget the exact format, but it's something like username.random-number@bloglines.com. It's automatically added to your list of feeds, and voila!

Posted by: retnuH at January 18, 2005 04:15 AM

If you're so concerned about email-spam, maybe you should edit your blog-templates to stop showing the email addresses of people who leave comments on your posts...

Posted by: Luke Hutteman at January 18, 2005 02:10 PM

Pls. see my comments at http://rajs.blog-city.com/read/1017777.htm.

Posted by: Rajs at January 20, 2005 01:43 AM

Luke: simple solution: don't provide that information.

Cedric: I have been using dodgeit for a while now and it is the ultimate in disposable email addresses.

--== keep on keeping on ==--

Posted by: Lee Port at January 26, 2005 01:34 AM


Posted by: Bob at January 30, 2005 06:19 PM

Jetable.org (which is down today becuase of a server crash, which led me to this page to find an alternative) rocks. Nothing like it. Just create a disposable email valid for anywhere from 8 hours to 8 days at a click of a mouse. All the emails that ocme to that address are forwarded to your real address, and the disposable email expires when the time comes, so no question of spamming (jetable doesn't share data). Its the only real disposable email service out there.

Posted by: dinesh at January 31, 2005 10:59 PM

I generally just make up an email address, usually by incorporating something from the organization I am corresponding with into the email address itself. I use an inexpensive web/email server service to manage my domain, and I have it configured to accept email to any address at that domain. If an address that I made up starts to get spam, I can quickly configure the email server to bounce all email that comes to that address. Does this approach seem reasonable?

Posted by: Randy Oxentenko at February 9, 2005 08:12 AM


is easy with no signup and fast

PS your captcha is ineffective against dedicated spammers as it doesn't use any text warping

Posted by: Peter Himself at March 25, 2005 02:19 AM

Check out http://www.mytrashmail.com. They have all in one. RSS, TemporaryEmail, FakeEmail, Anonymous Email. 4 in 1 :)

Posted by: Anonymous Email at May 2, 2005 06:08 AM

Finally...someone who's another mytrashmail.com fan! They're pretty rare nowadays.

All mytrashmail fans, unite! :-)

It's like mailinator with the no-password thing, but unlike it in the way that messages stay longer than a few hours before auto-deleting...what if you don't catch them? No problem with mytrashmail. They keep messages for 5 days.

But then you may say "dodgeit keeps them forever!" Yeah it does. But what if you don't want the messages kept forever? These guys have a delete button if you suddenly realize that a confidential message popped up without you realizing it. You can also reply to the message...it's integrated as part of the Fake Email service they provide. And you can also forward the message to your real address if you want to keep it.

I'm blah.man@mytrashmail.com; what are you?

Posted by: anonyMOUSE! at May 6, 2005 09:22 PM

But with spamgourmet, you only have to go to the website *once* -- after that all the mail from disposable email addresses goes straight to your inbox (disposable addresses are automatically created and destroyed as they're used). It's actually a good deal easier than the other services, because you don't have to constantly go to the web or to an rss utility -- no?

Posted by: at September 17, 2005 09:02 PM

www.greensloth.com is the best for this
no signing up for anything!

Posted by: cam at October 11, 2005 08:10 AM

Also checkout shortMail.net They have rss, save, delete, anonymous email and email forwarding. All free no registration required.

Posted by: J C at October 13, 2005 10:34 AM


Posted by: at March 7, 2006 07:28 PM

I think ipoo beats DodgeIt, but I like simple and fast. It does do RSS, but there is not password option. http://www.ipoo.org/mail/

Posted by: Christian von Kleist at March 28, 2006 11:19 AM

A search turned up this page.

People only really need one service that works. A list of all the services (which this is turning into) is rather more helpful to those who are trying to block the use of disposable addresses.

Posted by: lol at September 16, 2006 09:10 AM

It depends on what you need. A lot of these services offer basic disposable addresses (receive only), other full-fledged services with two-way address masking (send and receive). I like ShieldedMail which offers a lot of features other services don't have (SPF verification, statistics, different alias types, "friend" aliases, alias recycling, email subject filtering, etc). They have a free membership.
Look at:

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Posted by: fanagnqv at March 13, 2007 08:08 PM

i think spaml is a good alternative for malinator. they have an easy to use web 2.0 style interface. it rocks. u can access it from http://www.spaml.com

Posted by: Adam at March 21, 2007 09:52 AM

i think ipoo.org is gone.. :(

Posted by: guest at September 4, 2007 07:54 AM

I have also found this new one... with RSS support. Quite cool and simple:


Posted by: jd at June 24, 2009 12:35 PM
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