Easy Gmail Address Tweaks to Get More Addresses

Use These Email Hacks to Trick Websites and Filter Incoming Messages

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If you have a Gmail address, you technically have just that address, but with a few tweaks, you can turn it into dozens of variations that appear different to websites, all without actually making new Gmail accounts.

When you set up a Gmail hack as described below, you're making your address look different with periods and plus signs. What happens is that any website that has your email on file will think that email1@gmail.com is different from email.1@gmail, and that both are still different from email1+me@gmail.com.

In reality, however, Google ignores periods and plus signs in its email addresses, so it sees all incoming mail — regardless of a dot or plus sign — as the exact same account.

If this is confusing, consider this: when you signed up for Gmail and chose your email address, you could have used the tricks below and it wouldn't have made a difference. In fact, you can even log in to Gmail using one of these tweaked addresses, and Google will take you to the same email account with the same emails, contacts, etc.

Add a Dot Anywhere

Gmail ignores addresses that have periods, so put a dot anywhere in your email and Gmail will pretend it doesn't exist. Any website you sign up for, though, will think that your dotted email is different than you nondotted one, which means you can sign up for multiple accounts on the same website without needing multiple email accounts.

Below are some examples, and keep in mind that each address is the exact same, so you could send mail to all of these and they'd reach the same Inbox.

  • j.oesfamily@gmail.com
  • jo.esfamily@gmail.com
  • joe.sfamily@gmail.com
  • joes.family@gmail.com
  • joesf.amily@gmail.com

You can't add a period after the @ sign, but anything before it is open for tweaking. You can even add more than one period, like this:

  • my.business.is.great@gmail.com
  • mybusiness.is.great@gmail.com
  • m.y.business.i.s.g.r.eat@gmail.com

Again, all three email address above are the exact same according to Google. However, you could, for example, make three Twitter accounts with those addresses because Twitter assumes each address is from a different person.

Some websites recognize this behavior and will not let you make more than one account using the same email address, even when you use this period tweak. However, for most websites, you can expect it to work.

You could get crazy with it and add several periods right next to each other. This method, however, only works for logging into Gmail; you can't send someone a message if two dots are next to each other.

  • these.....are.....the.....same@gmail.com
  • theseare.the.....s.am...e@gmail.com
  • t.hese.a.r...e.th.e.same@gmail.com

Add a Plus Tag as a Filter

Another way to spawn different Gmail addresses with nothing but a syntax trick, is to add a plus sign at the end of the username (before the @). Doing this lets you add other words to your address, so it can actually look quite different.

Here are a few examples that expand on the email address "joeman@gmail.com":

  • joeman+moretext@gmail.com
  • joeman+thatsmyname@gmail.com
  • joeman+ilovehunting@gmail.com

So, why would you want to add a plus sign to your Gmail account? Besides tricking some websites into letting you making multiple accounts as described above with the periods, you can more easily understand whether a website is selling your email address to advertisers.

For example, if after making an account on a website using joeman+possiblespam@gmail.com, you start getting weird emails sent to that unique address from companies you've never contacted, you can bet that the site you signed up for gave out your email address.

Something else you can do with a Gmail address that has a plus sign is set up Gmail filters. For example, if you sign up for an email newsletter with the "ilovehunting" example from above, you could make Gmail auto-filter emails sent to that address into a folder that just has messages from that hunting newsletter.

Here's how to set up email filters with your hacked Gmail address:

  1. Click the settings icon on the upper right-hand side of Gmail, and then click Settings from the drop-down menu.

    Screenshot showing how to open the Gmail settings
    Jon Fisher
  2. Click Filters and Blocked Addresses from the tabs list.

    Screenshot showing the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab in the Gmail settings
    Jon Fisher
  3. Click Create a new filter from the very bottom of the page.

    Screenshot of the Create a new filter link in Gmail's settings
    Jon Fisher
  4. Type the special Gmail address in the To text box. For example, you might write joeman+ilovehunting@gmail.com if you want to filter all emails sent to that address.

    Screenshot showing how to make a new Gmail filter for an address with a plus sign
    Jon Fisher
  5. Click Create filter.

    Screenshot showing how to create a filter in Gmail
    Jon Fisher 
  6. To automatically move messages sent to this address to a specific folder, select a label next to Apply the label. There's also an option in that drop-down menu to make a new label.

    Optionally check any other options you want to enable, such as marking the message as read or never sending the email to spam.

    Screenshot of the Gmail filter options
    Jon Fisher
  7. Click Create filter to finalize the filter.