Friday, February 19, 2021

The Email Magic of PLUS ("+")

 Create Unique
Email Address(es)

Here is how to create multiple email addresses and still have only one email mailbox to visit.

BLUF  (Bottom Line Up Front) - You can add a plus symbol to an existing email address and anything after that will be ignored ... but the message will still be delivered.

In the beginning...

For this article, I will use my own address (You may recognize that as my business Gmail address, but I've modified the domain name to prevent bots scraping the address from this page.) 

Here's what normally happens:
  • You send an email [To]
  • It is delivered to my Gmail account
  • I log into Google, go to Gmail mailbox, then open and read your message

Additional Email Addresses

However, you can create and use any of the following variations:
I have just created 10 unique email addresses without creating 10 more mailboxes to check!

Delivered to the same mailbox

If you are like me (lazy and short on time) then you only want one email mailbox to check. 

Messages sent to any of those addresses are delivered to only one Gmail mailbox,!

Bonus: I can tell at a glance the sender's intention.

Addresses can be filtered

Another reason why you might want to start using "+ addresses" is that you can filter messages. 

For example, you can create a filter that tests for "TO contains" then move that message into its own folder.

Unique Addresses

I added a membership plugin to a WordPress site, and it requires unique email addresses for members.

Did you notice the +Test1, +Test2, +Test3 and +Test4 addresses in my list?
That allowed me to add four accounts and still meet the "unique email address" requirement. Five accounts if you add one without a plus.

Then, when it came time to test them, the tests were all delivered to one existing Gmail mailbox.

Publishing these addresses

There are several ways you can use these addresses.

You can use them when you create an account (did you notice the "+Amazon" address?). With this technique, you can discover if a business account has been hacked. This happened to LinkedIn several years ago. Their database was hacked, and I started receiving SPAM! I subsequently changed my LinkedIn account information.

You can publish the address on your website or printed material. Think brochures and business cards.


FYI, I have discovered that the "+" trick works for most email systems, including Gmail. Unfortunately, I discovered that it does not work with AOL and Yahoo email systems.

Bottom Line

You can add a plus symbol to an existing email address and anything after that will be ignored ... but the message will still be delivered! You can publish the address, use it to create accounts, or use it in a website contact form.

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