A reader sent me a link to a list of points that make Gmail really great. I'm not sure whether or not these points are enough to convince me that Gmail is fantastic, but I admit that it does do some things well (Hotmail does a few things well, also).
One of the things that I found interesting from supporting points is that Gmail allows you to find out who sold your email address to spammers.
Here is how to use it:
- While signing up for any new website enter your Gmail address as firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Don’t worry, you will receive the mails as usual because Gmail doesn’t recognize any combination of words or numbers after the “+” sign.
- Whenever you get any spam message just click on the “Show Details” link to expand the email header and find out the email address to which it was sent.
- If you had signed up according to the step number 1, you will be able to find out who gave your email address to the spammer.
This assumes, of course, that you're going to enter in the website where you sign up to receive stuff or get access to something else. If you do that then I think that you're going to have a pretty good clue who is farming out your email address to spammers. It lets you track down those guys who say they'll protect your privacy but really don't.
The one drawback to this is that some web pages may get wise to this trick and start cleaning up email addresses by removing everything after and including the + sign up to the @ symbol. Until they do, I think that this trick has some merit.