Benefits and Downsides of using disposable email services

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 17, 2022

In a world, in which more spam is send out day after day than regular emails, it is mostly up to the individual user to do something about it. Receiving less spam in the inbox means less time wasted on it, and also less of a chance to interact with spam. One way of dealing with spam is through disposable email services.

disposable email service

Most Internet users have one or multiple email addresses. While many new users who use the Internet on mobiles exclusively may not use email much, the majority of computer users have one or multiple email addresses they use daily.

These email addresses have value for spammers and marketers, as they can use automation to send unsolicited emails to them. Many will be blocked by spam filters and many more will be ignored, but spam slips through, and since spam is a game of numbers, it is profitable.

One of the best defenses against spam is to keep email addresses secret; this does not always work, as it may be sold by services that you signed-up to, may leak on the Internet when a service gets hacked, or may be revealed by contacts of yours, e.g., when uploading their entire contacts list to a service or getting their computers hacked.

Disposable email addresses, such as Yopmail, as well as email relay services, such as Firefox Relay or AnonAddy, offer a useful line of defense. Basically, what they do is protect the original email address of a user with one they provide. Emails do get relayed through the services, similarly to how VPN connections relay Internet traffic through their servers to protect a user's IP address.

The use of multiple email addresses is an alternative, but it is usually not possible to create hundreds of email addresses. If you have access to a domain name and email services, you may be able to create multiple email addresses and use them.

Some providers support filters, e.g., Gmail or Outlook supports filters, which change the email address by allowing users to add text to it, but these are easily filtered out by services on the Internet and not usable in all situations.

The benefits of disposable email addresses

If used correctly, the original email address is not revealed to services or contacts. You sign-up using the disposable email address and all communication takes place between the email address and the provider of the service. Relay services forward the emails to your "real" email address.

Many disposable email providers support the creation of several email addresses. You could use one per service on the Internet that you sign-up for, which also helps identify services that sell email addresses or leaked them otherwise. It is easy enough to block or delete created email addresses to stop the flow of spam.

The selection of the provider is essential. Many free services come and go quickly, and it may be more beneficial to sign-up for a paid service instead. Commercial providers include Spamex, Firefox Relay, or 33Mail.

The drawbacks of using disposable email addresses

Organizations that operate disposable email address and relay services need to be trusted. All email communication flows through their servers, which means, that the emails are readable, unless protected.

Some email services give users access to the entire pool of addresses, which means that anyone who happens to check the inbox of a particular email address may read all incoming messages.  Deleting emails once read or using providers that give unique disposable email addresses are options to deal with that.

Another disadvantage is that services may be blacklisted, so that the email domains they support may not be used to sign-up for services on the Internet; this too can be overcome in some cases. Some providers give you access to multiple domain names, others allow you to set up your own custom domain names.

Email providers may go out of business, which may be problematic for users, depending on how the service was used. If you used it to sign-up for services on the Internet, you may have lost your ability to recover your passwords or account access.

Closing Words

Disposable email addresses and email forwarding & relay services offer a useful services to Internet users. The may protect a user's email address and privacy, if used correctly. Whether it is better to use free or paid services is up for debate. Free services generate revenue through ads and sometimes also donations, paid services through subscription fees.

Now You: do you use disposable email services or relay services? If so which, and why?

Benefits and Downsides of using disposable email services
Article Name
Benefits and Downsides of using disposable email services
Disposable email services, email relay and forwarding services, aim to protect your email address. Here are the main benefits and disadvantages of using these services.
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  1. JMGG said on January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

    You said that Outlook isn’t your main email client, so which is your main one?

    1. BalaC said on January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I think its thunderbird

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Salaam said on September 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Awesome! This actually solved my problem… what a stupid bug.

  3. Claud said on December 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

    If this is the same bug that I’ve encountered, there may be another fix: (1) hover over open Outlook item in Taskbar, cursor up to hover over Outlook window item, and right-click; (2) this should give you Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize — choose Move or Size; (3) use your cursor keys, going arbitrarily N/S/E/W, to try to move or size the Outlook window back into view. Basically, the app behaves as though it were open in a 0x0 window, or at a location that’s offscreen, and this will frequently work to resize and/or move the window. Don’t forget to close while resized/moved, so that Outlook remembers the size/position for next time.

    1. Lynda said on February 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      THANK YOU Claude!!! I could get the main window to launch but could not get any other message window to show on the desktop. You are my hero!!!!

    2. Chad said on November 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Solved my issue! 6 years later and this is still problem…

    3. Ivan X said on January 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

  4. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This solved my Outlook problem, too. Thank you. :)

  5. Charles said on December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you so much, this started happening to me today and was causing big problems. You are a life saver, I hope I can help you in some way some day.

  6. garth said on November 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    You are a god – thank you!

  7. Faisal said on February 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

    thanks a lot…. work like charm.. :-)

  8. Simon said on March 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Yah…thanks Claude. I’ve been having the same problem and tried all the suggestions…your solution was the answer. It had resized itself to a 0/0 box. Cheers

  9. Olu said on April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent post. This had me baffled even trying to accurately describe the problem. This fixed it for me.
    Thank you

  10. Coenig said on July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Thanks a lot for the article. Don’t know why it happenend, don’t know how it got fixed, but it was really annoying and now it works :-)

  11. Fali said on January 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks a lot. I was facing this issue from past 3 week. I tried everything but no resolution. The issue was happening intermittently and mainly when I was changing the display of screen ( as i use 2 monitors). The only option i had was to do system restore. But thanks to you.

    1. MIki said on January 10, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I’ve been tried to sole this problem for 12hours. Your comment about changing the display of screen helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

  12. Christina said on January 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you…don’t know why this happened but your instructions helped me fix it. Running Windows 10 and office pro 2007

  13. Oz said on July 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Great tip! Thanks!

  14. Tracy said on September 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

  15. shawn said on September 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    It’s Worked for me, too
    thank you very much!

  16. Jari said on October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I had a similar issue with Outlook 2013 on Windows 10 and this helped me to fix it. Thank you very much!

  17. Michel H said on November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you so much. Solved!
    Considering you published this in 2012, incredible not been debugged by Microsoft.
    Thank you again. M

  18. Ziad Bitar said on January 9, 2017 at 2:00 am

    This problem was faced by only one user logging to TS 2008 r2 using outlook 2010.The issue was resolved.


  19. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Great tip. Thank you!!!! If it helps, I had to use the Control Key and the arrow keys at the same time to bring my window back into view. Worked like a charm.

  20. Rochelle said on March 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

  21. anom1234 said on May 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Man, you are a fucking god. Thanks a lot, what an annoying bug!!

  22. JC said on October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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