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Sometimes you want to register on a website, but you hesitate thinking you’ll end up getting tons of spam mail. Gmail makes it easy for you register at websites and never see an email from them or from anyone to which they may sell your email address. It takes just a little creativity on your part.

First, you must read my previous article “One Gmail Account, Many Addresses.” Basically, Gmail ignores the periods in your email address, so you could put a dot anywhere and gmail will still deliver your email to you. For instance, me@gmail.com is the same as m.e@gmail.com and .m.e.@gmail. It’ll all end up in your inbox.

So, how can you use this to your advantage? Easy. You’ve found a site you really want to register for, maybe it’s to get a freebie e-book or something. You’re a bit hesitant because the site doesn’t look completely trustworthy and your afraid they’ll sell your email address or send you tons of spam. Let’s say your normal gmail address is yourname@gmail.com (and if you happen to be yourname@gmail.com, I sincerely apologize!)

Go to the settings area of your gmail account and click on filters. In the To: line, put in your email address with a few periods added that you’ll remember, maybe yo.urna.me@gmail.com.

Click next step and select “Delete it” then “Create Filter”.

Now, go over to the suspicious website with information that you absolutely must have and register with your newly created filtered email address, yo.urna.me@gmail.com. Any mail sent to this address will be automatically deleted. It doesn’t matter what they do with your email address, you’ll never see any messages sent to that address.

You could also do various things, like create a folder and have all of those emails sent to a folder that you can periodically check, just in case something useful comes through. This way you could filter through your pre-filtered emails.

Google makes everything wonderful!

Gmail_logoThis may be old news to some, but it was new news to me. I had a customer service person tell me that someone had an email address very similar to mine, only theirs was all caps and that I should take my complaint to Gmail and ask them why they allow this. (Someone was using my email address and I was getting their “order receipts”, so I had asked the company to please put an end to this). After shaking my head for a bit, I decided I’d better reply to that customer service person with a link from Gmail explaining that case doesn’t affect an email address, me@gmail.com is the same as ME@gmail.com.

In looking for a link to send, I came across another great tidbit of info from Gmail. Not only does case not matter, but dots don’t either. I do use a dot between my first and last name in my gmail address, that’s how I signed up. Little did I know I can easily drop that dot or add more anywhere between any letters and still get my email!

Sometimes you may receive a message sent to an address that looks like yours but has a different number or arrangement of periods. While we know it might be unnerving if you think someone else’s mail is being routed to your account, don’t worry: both of these addresses are yours.

Gmail doesn’t recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they’ll all go to your inbox, and only yours. In short:

  • homerjsimpson@gmail.com = hom.er.j.sim.ps.on@gmail.com
  • homerjsimpson@gmail.com = HOMERJSIMPSON@gmail.com
  • homerjsimpson@gmail.com = Homer.J.Simpson@gmail.com

All these addresses belong to the same person. You can see this if you try to sign in with your username, but adding or removing a dot from it. You’ll still go to your account.

If you get mail that seems to be intended for someone else, it’s likely that the sender entered the wrong address, just like if you’ve ever dialed a wrong phone number for someone. In these cases, we suggest contacting the original sender or website when possible to alert them to the mistake.

One last thing: Google Apps does recognize dots. If you’d like to have a dot in your username, please ask your domain administrator to add your preferred username as a nickname.

So basically, me@gmail.com is the same as m.e@gmail.com and .m.e.@gmail.com

I learn something new everyday.

gmaillogoOne feature that Gmail is lacking is the ability to send an email to multiple addresses for a single contact when using groups. Say you have a soccer team, each child has two parents with seperate email addresses. You put the child’s name in your contact list, add each parent’s email address, then create a group to send mass emails to your entire team. Gmail only includes the first (primary) email address per contact. You need to include both email addresses. Previously, you needed to add each child in multiple times so that each email address is seen as a primary. I have a simple fix to keep your contact list from growing too large!

In the first email line type in your first address. Follow that address, in the same line, with >, < then include your second address. It should look something like this me@domain1.com>, <alsome@domain2.com. I know, Gmail doesn’t like that when saving, but do it anyway. When Gmail adds your contact address to the To: line, the address is placed in brackets and seperated by a comma. In this way, you’re tricking Gmail into seeing two different addresses in the To: line. Gmail will automatically open the brackets on the first address and close the brackets on the second, or final. You just need to put the middle part in there so that both addresses are recognized as valid when the email is sent. Now, add your contact to the group you need and you’re all set.

Go ahead! I know you want to try it. Add yourself as a contact, add two emails for yourself (I know we all have a bazillion). Click your name from the contact list and email yourself.