An e-mail address for every occasion (Feature)
By Jay Dougherty Feb 5, 2011, 2:06 GMT
Washington - Texting may have put a dent in e-mail's dominance as the primary form of electronic communication. But e-mail is far from dead. And the same can be said, unfortunately, for spam and inbox overload.
One of the best ways to keep ahead of both is to set up different e-mail accounts for different purposes. With different accounts, you can virtually eliminate spam without the use of a costly anti-spam package, and you can easily set up rules to route messages according to the account to which they're sent. Here's how you might proceed.
--- Personal mail
Your main personal account should be sacrosanct, given out only to friends and colleagues that you know will not be exposing your address in any way to marketers. This address should be the one that's easiest to remember, identifies you plainly, and that you expect never to have to change.
Don't post this address on any internet sites - or anywhere online where automated crawling bots can harvest it for use on some marketing list.
--- Shopping and financial accounts
You'll probably also want an e-mail address that you give out only to retailers, vendors, and financial institutions, both online and offline. Offline merchants increasingly want to know your e-mail address these days.
When purchasing online, do your best to keep vendors from sending marketing materials to this address. Uncheck any boxes that opt you in to newsletters and sales pitches, and, when possible, prefer vendors that promise never to give your e-mail address to third parties. Despite your best efforts, though, you're probably going to get some spam sent to you at this address, which is why you want to keep it separate from your personal account.
--- Career-related mail
Hopefully you won't be searching for a job very often. When you do, though, you should have a separate e-mail address for this purpose if your job search takes you to the internet, which is common these days. Job sites, once they get your e-mail address, are notorious for sending you both relevant messages and unwanted updates about services or positions in which you have no interest. In short, this is an e-mail address that you'll use for a while and then probably shut down. Just remember to give your eventual employer your permanent address once you're settled.
--- Web sites, forums
These days, you almost need to join social networking sites and forums. And for these sites, you need a separate e-mail address as well, in part because you'll most likely want to segregate the message you receive here from the truly important ones. Forum-related e-mail can almost always wait until you have time to deal with it.
--- Trash, spam
You need at least one junk e-mail address - one to which you just know that unwanted e-mail will be sent once you give it out. For this purpose, a 'disposable,' one-time-use e-mail address is perfect. Yahoo! Mail now makes it easy to create disposable addresses (http://yhoo.it/ety7ZA).
--- Taming the email
So how do you deal with all of your e-mail addresses? Set up your e-mail program - or your web-based e-mail, if you choose that route - to receive messages from all of the accounts you create. And then use your e-mail program to set up filters or 'rules' that automatically route e-mail from each of your addresses into a separate folder. That way, you won't experience inbox overload, and you can visit your various e-mail folders periodically to see which type of mail awaits you.
You don't have to have more than one e-mail provider to have more than one e-mail account. But you should give some thought to how stable the provider you choose is, how long you are likely to have a relationship with the firm, and whether you trust the provider enough to be sure that marketing messages won't inevitably make their way into your inbox. With many free web-based e-email accounts, for instance, spam soon finds its way into your inbox - even if you've never used the e-mail address that you set up.
The safest way to be sure that your e-mail addresses will be flexible, stable, and spam-free is to purchase your own domain name (for example, 'yourname.com'), with which you can have as many e-mail addresses as you wish, using any name you wish.
Firms like GoDaddy.com offer domain registration for under 2 dollars for the first year. If you want to go totally free, though, Google's Gmail will allow you to set up multiple e-mail addresses, too, and you can aggregate all the mail from those accounts using the Settings link in Gmail.
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