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What is Disposable E-Mail?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 16, 2024
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A disposable e-mail account is a service that allows Internet users to provide a temporary e-mail address without showing their true e-mail addresses. This allows many people to avoid spam, while still doing various tasks online, such as signing up for websites, downloading files, or trying out a newsletter. There are a number of disposable and temporary e-mail services available online, most of them free.

Just about anyone with an e-mail account in today's modern world has had to deal with some type of spam. Often, websites, forums, and newsletters will require a user to sign up and verify his e-mail address. These sites will then either outright spam those users or sell e-mail addresses to other sites that send out annoying advertisements. Spam can get quite frustrating and bog down an email account. By using a disposable e-mail address when signing up for some websites and services, Internet users can avoid a great deal of spam in their inboxes.

Most e-mails sent to a disposable e-mail address are either forwarded to a user's primary e-mail, or they are deleted within a certain time period. Some websites that offer this service do not even require a person to sign up, while others may require a user name, password, and valid primary e-mail address. From the disposable e-mail inbox, the mail recipient can then usually delete, forward, or reply to the message.

Some disposable e-mail accounts will automatically forward any messages to the user's primary e-mail. To some individuals, this may seem pointless as spam and junk mail will still be coming into the main e-mail address. The main advantage of using a disposable e-mail account to forward messages is that the temporary account can often be disabled, or can be set up to let only a limited number of messages through.

Mailinator® is considered to be the first disposable e-mail service, and it offers users the chance to create on-the-spot e-mail addresses. There is no need to sign up for Mailinator® because the temporary e-mail accounts are created as soon as mail is sent to that address. To use an address, an individual simply has to type in any email as long as it ends with @mailinator.com.

To read messages, a person must go to the Mailinator® website, and type in the address that he used. The inbox will appear, and from there, messages can be forwarded, deleted, or replied to. Although anyone who knows the e-mail address that was used can access the messages, all messages are deleted within a few hours.

SpamGourmet is a disposable e-mail service that works a little differently. This site is often used to receive mail in a real e-mail account, but it shields the actual address. SpamGourmet requires users to sign up with a username, password, and valid e-mail address. A certain number of messages that are sent to temporary e-mail addresses created by the user are forwarded to the primary e-mail.

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Discussion Comments

By Euroxati — On Jun 05, 2014

@Chmander - I've actually tried this before, and I have to admit that it works pretty well. I think the main reason why so many people get spam in their email is because since they're only using one email address, they use that to sign up for practically everything. Due to this, you are a lot more prone to spam and unwanted emails. Having a couple accounts could help solve this problem, just don't overdue it.

By Chmander — On Jun 04, 2014

Though I've never had a disposable email address before, let alone ever hearing of one, it does sound like a great solution to dealing with spam and the like. Also, just my opinion, but another great solution would be to create two other email addresses, one could serve as a "decoy" of sorts, while the other could be your real address. Has anyone done this before?

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