Reduce Spam by using alternative Google Mail Address?

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 26, 2008
Updated • Mar 23, 2014
Email, Gmail

I read about this tip yesterday on the Digital Inspiration and found it quite interesting. The tip mainly states that users who sign up for Gmail don't get one but two mail addresses: and The suggestion was to give one out to friends and use the other for all the other signups and conversations on the Internet.

It might seem like a solid trick unless you think about it for a second. If you know that there are two email addresses on those two Google domains that lead to the same user, the spammer could know as well and most likely will.

So, even though you use one email for private matters and the other for everything else, Mr. Spammer will simply add a script that sends mails to both Google accounts automatically.

The only real way that works in my opinion are separate email accounts with no connection whatsoever. Using one account with those two email addresses will simply not reduce the amount of spam that you receive.

Update: While it is still possible to use either email address when you sign up on the Internet, you may have noticed that sending always uses the email address. You need to keep that in mind if you sign up for a service that you need to reply to, or when you contact the service by email.

An alternative are email aliases which you can make use of as well. This is done by appending +name to the user name of the email address. If your email address is, you can use any combination. Emails will still arrive at the address. The method still has its issues, as spammers can simply derive the original email address from that as well (by removing the+alias part from the email address that you have used.

So, it is definitely best to use separate email accounts that have no connection to each other, as spammers won't be able to draw a connection between the two this way.


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  1. Martijn said on September 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    As a professional voiceover I can’t afford to mislabel incoming email as spam since my satisfied customers attach all kinds of messages to the voice over work they send me to be read out (such as commercials, corporate video and bilingual stuff since I’m a voiceover in Dutch and English).

    Did you know you can add the dot at any point in a gmail address? So why not or or whatever. Also, you can add a + after your username and add anything you like. will help you set up a filter to detect any mail might have sent you, for instance about audiobooks. (Ofcourse, some sites won’t allow you to register a name with a + it in, so use the dot-trick there.)

  2. Dante said on February 26, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    While I agree with Martin that spammers can easily and cheaply just program all the variable combinations to spam, I still think this is a mute point. The fact is, Gmail has a great filtering system. I rarely get spam that got through to my inbox in Gmail. And whenever a Gmail user got spam, he/she just reports it and the source is gone forever.

    Secondly, I also use Yahoo premium mail service. This lets me set up 50 seperate accounts in the following format:

    And while Yahoo has as good a filter as Gmail, this method does allow me to see which vendor sends out the spams. I’ve found Microcenter to be a particularly routine spammer based on the spam going to my Spam folder from

  3. Martin said on February 26, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    What makes you think that spammers do not take that into account either ?

    I would send it to and to and to and to

  4. Anon said on February 26, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    so use this method:
    If your gmail account is, register your mail as on sites you fear of spam
    then set up a filter for all mails sent to to be moved to spam
    yes, if your mail is johndoe then john.doe is also your mail
    gmail rocks

    sorry for the bad english, if any

  5. Mosey said on February 26, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Yes, I think this works – but only if you have two different email addresses (ie. not

    I have two gmail accounts, and since gmail allows you to add one account to another – I *only* ever login to just one account, as I can receive the non-spam mail to my inbox from Account B, and can send out email using that particular address from Account A.

  6. Martin said on February 26, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    If I were a spammer I would automatically scan and rebuild those emails.

  7. Qwfwq said on February 26, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Very good point, and the same could be said for the username+etc trick. It could however be useful for filtering bacn.

  8. Thinker said on February 26, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Did you check it? Coz I think spamers wont really care about 0.001% of users using that trick..

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