One Gmail address becomes many with one keystroke – from Paddy in the Big Apple

Paddy in the Big Apple helped The Rapid Traveler with his Buenos Aires trip, starting an online travel correspondence, and tonight they shared beers at Exchange Place, gazing at the iconic New York skyline across the water.

Like The Rapid Traveler, Paddy plays the travel hacking game to fund backpacking trips across the world. Travel hacking, when going whole hog on deals, often requires multiple email addresses. This is a minor hassle but nice to avoid, especially when accounts such as Gmail start pushing for telephone number verification and limit the number of accounts per telephone number. Paddy has found an elegant Gmail solution in his post, “Multiple Sign-Ups (Gmail Hack).” It turns out that Gmail strips out the periods when processing emails, so one email address become manys just by moving periods around, such as:

  • g.mailhack@gmail.com
  • gm.ailhack@gmail.com
  • gma.ilhack@gmail.com

And on and on, with multiple periods, too.

Conveniently, these all end up in your main inbox, and labels can be set up to tag one from each ghost account.

As denizens of the UK & Ireland are found of saying, “brilliant!”

Paddy has launched a travel hacking series, so follow him for more.

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  • Chris

    You can also do youraddress+whatever@gmail.com. Some forms won’t consider this to be a valid email address, though.

  • HansGolden

    You should test each unique one before using because Gmail didn’t used to do it that way. Before, if I had tried to sign up for HansGolden@gmail.com and it was taken, it would suggest Hans.Golden@gmail.com. These days, if HansGolden is taken, it won’t let you sign up for Hans.Golden , but it used to. So there are probably some “dupes” out there and the email might end up getting sent to someone else. However, if you test it and it works, then it’s safe. (Until Google changes its practice.) A safer option is adding + and extra letters to the end. For instance, if my email was HansGolden@gmail.com, then I could use HansGolden+PriorityClub@gmail.com and HansGolden+HHonors@gmail.com etc, etc. Since this is an official Google policy, it’s more likely to stand the test of time: http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=12096

  • DL

    Not every site takes email addresses formatted like this, but you can also add a + at the end and write whatever you want

    Gmailhack@gmail.com
    Gmailhack+spam@gmail.com
    Gmailhack+united@gmail.com

  • Mike

    Actually this is how emails were originally functioned long time ago. So hence, gmail is sticking to the original ways and other email companies are not.

  • My wife found out about this a few years ago, and we have been taking advantage of that. Just assumed at the time that everyone already knew about it.

  • Have a good time in Buenos Aires. Is it going to be done over a weekend again? I was tempted to tag that onto our Lima-Cuzco-Juliaca-Easter Island-Santiago trip for May (booked before the BA devaluation), but decided against it as we really did not have many days off.

  • Jordan

    Not only does gmail strip periods, but they will also disregard plus signs (+). So, using the previous email example, gmailhack@gmail.com, gmailhack+a@gmail.com, gmailhack+1a@gmail.com, and so on, all come to the main inbox. Not sure if other services do this as well? I’ve found this to be very useful when needing phantom email addresses.

  • Jordan

    To clarify: gmail ignores everything AFTER the plus sign. I assume it can be used in conjunction with the periods, but I’ve never had to try it. With the + the limits are endless. I used this for TripAlertz, but they caught me and wouldn’t honor any bookings I made with the Trip Cash I had earned… I have yet to try it with other travel sites.

  • LarryInNYC

    FYI, Yahoo has an actual feature called “Disposable Addresses” in which you can create as many single-purpose anonymous addresses as you want. They all arrive in your main inbox (or can be sent to separate folders on arrival). They work similar to the google “+” except that you designate a different “base” username so that you don’t reveal anything about your actual username when using one of these addresses.