Hotmail launches disposable email addresses

Microsoft is aiming to boost Hotmail’s anti-spam credentials once more with the introduction of disposable alias addresses.

Starting today, the company will allow Hotmail users to create up to five email aliases.

Unlike existing alias features – which allows users to append a plus sign to their existing address (i.e. [email protected]) to help track and filter mail arriving from online shopping sites, for example – the new system will allow users to create a completely fresh moniker before the @ sign.

With the plus addresses that many services offer, it’s still very easy to determine your actual email address

Microsoft claims that the process of adding suffixes to existing email addresses is flawed. “With the plus addresses that many services offer, it’s still very easy to determine your actual email address and there are times when you simply don’t want to give out any part of your real email address,” said Dharmesh Mehta, director of Windows Live product management, on the Inside Windows Live blog.

“Email aliases let you create completely different email addresses that you can use to receive email into your primary account without anyone knowing what your primary email address is.”

Hotmail will also let users switch off the aliases, allowing them to sign up for, say, a price comparison site and then staunch the subsequent flow of marketing emails arriving in their inbox.

The introduction of aliases is the latest attempt by Microsoft to clean up Hotmail’s unwanted reputation as a spam trap. Last year the company introduced a number of new security and anti-spam measures, including Sweep – a feature that allows users to pick an email from a particular sender and instantly delete all their messages from their inbox.

Yahoo offers a similar alias service to users of its premium webmail accounts.

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