Gmail hack

Not sure how many people know about this gmail hack, but it’s come in handy for me recently, so I thought I’d throw it out. Suppose you have an account on a service like Twitter, but now need to sign up for a different username, or just want one account for business and one for personal use. Twitter (and other services) won’t let you use an email that is already in their system to sign up for a new account.

Here’s where the gmail hack comes in. Gmail has one feature and one bug that allows you go get around having to have a secondary email address. The first is that Gmail allows you to create an infinite number of + aliases for your gmail account, in the format:

griffey+TEXTHERE@gmail.com

You can use any text at all after the plus sign, and gmail will ignore it completely for the purposes of delivering the email to you, but WILL let you filter and search on it. So I could set up a second twitter account called fakegriffey, and give it the email address griffey+fakegriffey@gmail.com, and Twitter will let me, since that isnt in their database. Gmail will happily deliver it to my griffey@gmail account, and all is well.

The other hack is that Gmail completely ignores periods in any account name for delivering email. griffey is the same as gri.ffey is the same as griff.ey is the same as g.r.i.f.f.e.y. By giving Twitter some variation, you can get around their email limit and still keep your email organized.

Hope this is useful to anyone who didn’t know about it!

13 thoughts on “Gmail hack

  1. Can indeed be very useful. We used to use this to create student accounts on Edublogs before we had our own WPMU at CofC: teacher+student1@gmail, teacher+student2@gmail, etc. Nice application of the hack.

  2. Cool trick… and I can see the way Twitter structures messages like new follower notifications, it’s easy to see which Twitter acct each message is referencing even though they’re all in the one gmail acct. Neat!

  3. Yes – this can be very useful. One thing to remember, though – there is no way to SEND mail as the e-mail addresses created this way — I leaned this the hard way after thinking I was being so clever and subscribing to a bunch of listserv-type lists with one of these hand crafted addresses. But then I couldn’t post anything, as any email I sent came from my base address, and the listserv servers didn’t recognize that as being subscribed.

  4. Word of warning when using the + hack. Twitter may be just fine with addresses that contain a + but there are plenty of other things you can sign up for online that aren’t.

    I’ve been locked out of a couple of accounts because I signed up using the + hack for filtering and the site then changed their email validation system and the next time I tried to log in was told I wasn’t entering a vaild email address. Email to tech support sorted out the problem, but it’s made me leery of using this particular trick.

    It’s a pity too, ’cause it sure made filtering easy.

  5. This very hack causes us no end of trouble. I’m a technology librarian for a public library system in Raleigh, NC. We’ve received complaints from people in Ohio, California, Washington, etc. because they regularly get email notices intended for one of our patrons. Google is supposed to prevent people from creating an account with similar ids, but sometimes this doesn’t work. So johndoe@gmail.com emails sometimes end up with john.doe@gmail.com, and vice versa.

  6. this is not working at all for me..
    when i m trying to make an account with “+” sign, a message appears that only letters(a-z), numbers and periods are allowd.is there anything wrong i m doing?

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