One-off mails with mailinator

Interesting. Someone signed up for an account at isabont with an email address @mailinator.com. It turns out Mailinator a service for exactly this purpose, to provide a one-off email address, which you can check at any time, so you can click that email verification link, but which isn’t really yours, so you won’t reveal your real email address and thus risk getting spam.



Now I’ve had my email address published since 1998 or thereabouts, so I have to fight spam with spam filters, which, it turns out, works reasonably well—there’s a false positive here and there, but I can live with that. Email, just like regular mail, is inherently unreliable.



But mailinator lets you check any email@mailinator.com address, and they’ll store the mail there for a few hours. So if you send mail to linkfromlarsblog@mailinator.com, and then go check that email later, you’ll see that it’s there (and so will anyone else). Quite nifty, I have to say. A simple, good idea. Well done.



Of course, you’re now on your own wrt the service—you won’t get reminders, notice when your account expires, all that good stuff. But you have the choice.

3 comments

Now, doesn't this cast doubt on having email confirmations in the first place? Are there any real virtues that compensate for the very cumbersome registration process?
By Steffen on Thu, Jul 13, 06 at 03:31 · Reply
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Good point. There's a couple reasons still: # Avoid spamming other people. We send out reminders to people for their upcoming events, for example. Without verification, you could set the email address to someone you don't like and ask the system to send you loads of bogus reminder, effectively spamming someone else via us. We don't want that. # Avoid bot-created accounts. Others use CAPTCHA, but that has its own set of problems for people with disabilities. It's not that people don't know how to write bots that work around the email verification, and you could surely write one that uses mailinator.com, but we haven't seen that happen yet.
By Lars Pind on Thu, Jul 13, 06 at 03:31 · Reply
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But then again, effectively spamming someone is not really a problem either. And you'd probably find easier ways of doing so than signing them up for some odd web services. And in this context, I only thinking about the users of your own service -- not about the-common-practise-on-verification-emails-on-every-web-service. Any stats on how many users are repelled by the need for verification? (Could Mailinator be set up to automagically follow the first link in the incoming emails?)
By Steffen on Thu, Jul 13, 06 at 03:31 · Reply
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