Long story short: email@example.com = firstname.lastname@example.org = email@example.com = firstname.lastname@example.org = email@example.com …et cetera.
Very useful for when you sign up on various sites. You can use different e-mail aliases and then know and filter all the garbage they might spread your e-mail address around to.
Oh, and + addressing is available on many different e-mail systems. The dot thing seems to be fairly unique to Gmail though. A better explanation of plus-addressing after the jump.
…or you can just use a disposable email address.
Gmail supports plus-addressing of e-mails. Messages can be sent to addresses in the format firstname.lastname@example.org, where extratext can be any string, and will arrive in the inbox of email@example.com. This allows users to sign up for different services with different aliases and then easily filter all e-mails from those services. In addition, should users start to receive spam messages that are directed to their e-mail address with the extra text, they will know what services have leaked out their e-mail address to others. However, some websites do not accept email addresses containing plus signs, despite the ‘+’ symbol being part of the mail address specification.
Gmail allows the user to add other email accounts to be used as optional sender addresses on outgoing email. A verification process is performed to confirm the user’s ownership of each email address before it is added. “Plus-addresses” can also be added as sender addresses in a similar way. Moreover, any of the additional addresses can be set as the default address.
When using this feature, the address chosen will appear in the “From:” field of the email. However, the Gmail account used to actually send the message is easily seen, as it either appears on a “Sender:” field in the email header, or in the message’s subject field. Some mail clients will write “From: Sender@gmail.com [mailto:Sender@gmail.com] On Behalf Of…” upon reply, making it very obvious.
Optionally, a different “Reply-to:” address can be set for each “send as” address.
Gmail doesn’t recognize dots as characters within a username. Instead, it will ignore all dots in a username. For instance, the account firstname.lastname@example.org receives mail sent to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc. Likewise, the account email@example.com receives mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. This can be useful in setting filters for incoming mail. However, when signing in, it is necessary to include any dots used in the creation of the account. Also note that this does not work in Google Apps for Your Domain. In Apps, each username variation must be entered as a nickname by the domain administrator.
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