The E-Mail Registration Blues

Whenever you register at a new website, you always have to go through the same process. Fill out the form, give them your e-mail and watch the cascade of spam and “bacon” e-mails fill up your inbox. (“Bacon” e-mails are those e-mails you don’t really want from group lists, but that you had actually signed up for at some point.) I have a couple of tips for those of you who want to avoid this messy situation.

The first great website I has is called YopMail (http://www.yopmail.com/en/). What this site offers is free, “disposable” e-mail. All you have to do is either decide on or have Yopmail generate a username for their service and you’ll have instant access to that e-mail address @Yopmail.com. For example, I can type in techeap@yopmail.com, and tell any site I’m registering for that that is my e-mail address. I then click on check messages, and verify the mailbox.

As you’ve probably figured out, this e-mail has zero security on it. Anybody who figures out the name you’ve selected can go into that e-mail account. Therefore, be very careful about what information you give to the site with which you are registering. You don’t want them sending you an e-mail with private information on what amounts to a public e-mail address. I myself went into dave@yopmail.com and saw nine or so spam e-mail messages. The good news on this front is that you can’t send out e-mail from these accounts. This, of course, would be a spammer’s dream. An unlimited number of e-mail addresses that could send out spam e-mails constantly. This could be a limiting factor on the service, if the site you are registering with requires a reply from that e-mail.

Another method of fighting registration grief is Bugmenot (http://www.bugmenot.com/). On this site, you just type in the name of the site you want to have access to and Bugmenot will give you user-submitted names and passwords. This method might be stretching the terms of service for certain websites, so you might want to be careful in using that one. There’s also a pretty interesting set of discussions linked to from the Bugmenot’s FAQ on the ethics of using such a method.

The last method you can always consider is just getting an additional e-mail address and just register for stuff using that one. There are bunches to choose from, including the big ones, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and G-Mail. This is the method I use myself from a fairly obscure website that I’ll keep to myself for now. This gives you all the power of something like Yopmail with the added security of one more password to remember and the ability to send out e-mail in a pinch.

I hope one of these methods works for you.

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