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How to protect your email address when you can't disguise it.

Sometimes you may have to publish your email address on the internet in plain text and not be able to disguise it. I maintain many email addresses (as you will see if you read on) and only one of these addresses is subject to spam. This is an address that I have registered on an internet special interest forum.

This address has now become a nuisance and I have just dispensed with it and registered a new one. This is something that can't easily be done if it's the only email address you have - especially as it's likely to have come from your ISP on signing up for the particular service you use.

It is so easy to avoid this problem by registering a URL (for example and using the email forwarding facility that comes with this very inexpensive purchase. I make no claim to have researched the hundreds of vendors that will sell you a URL but I'm happy with and can recommend that particular company.

123-Reg have recently changed the appearnce of their website and I will get around to changing the text below asap. But the system is the same and you can go their quickly to buy a URL by clicking the banner above.

Follow the link above and look for the URL search facility near the centre of the screen. Here I've entered my sample address.

Probably you'll leave the "All TLD's" selection and press "Check Name"

Surprise, surprise the version is available! Click order now and follow the on screen instructions. The URL's will only cost £6.08 to register for a year and you will have unlimited free email forwarding and a web forwarding facility as well. Top level domain names like .com will cost considerable more. If you are lucky you may be find that a combination of you first name and surname will be available. ie was available as I write this. Or be creative!

Within a few minutes of signing up you will be emailed a password to enter the "control panel" for that URL. Navigate to "maintain your URL" then "Email Forwarding" The screen you see next will look like the one below. Here I've entered the name of an imaginary firm COMSERVE in order that I could use it for registration with that company only. It will be forwarded to my main ISP provided address

If this address shown in this image ever "leaked" into cyberspace and started getting spammed you would know exactly who leaked it! Alternatively, if you signed up to a discussion board with the email address "pasty_group©" and it became the subject of excessive spam, you can make a small change (say pasty1_group ) and change you registration details on the board. Note that at the bottom of the part page illustrated here I have selected the radio button to reject all email to except those set up in this panel.

This is enough for many purposes. With this in place you don't have to give you ISP provided primary address to anyone at all so that one can never be spammed. Also, if you give, for example, your friends the address robertstreet© and you change your ISP, you don't need to tell everyone that you have a new email address. Just change the re-direction in your control panel.

Ok. there are a couple of shortcomings if you settle for just this level of control. One snag is that if you are signing up to the Yahoo pasty discussion group you will have to send your emails from a pasty_group© email account or they will be rejected. This cab easily be overcome with a little tweaking in Outlook Express. It's also worth doing this for a regular correspondence address such as robertstreet© because, if you receive an email for that address and you hit "reply" to reply to it, your ISP primary email address will be revealed to the correspondent.

To overcome this, in Outlook Express go to "tools" > "Accounts". Select the main ISP provided account which is the target for the alias ed emails (this may well be the only account you have at this stage) and click "properties" Go to the "server" page and note down the contents. You should have a record of the password which you cannot read there or copy.

Now click on "add" > "mail" and complete the wizard with the following amendments to the ISP primary account. The display name can be whatever you want, say "Robert Street" and the next page is for the internet email address. Enter here the alias address you have chosen (ie robertstreet© then , on the following pages, use the details you copied down earlier. Finish the wizard and again examine the "properties" for that new account.

Uncheck the tick box for "include this account when syncing or receiving" and also enter the robertstreet© address into the "reply to" box which doesn't feature in the wizard.

Set one of the email accounts as the "default" account and don't forget that with two or more accounts set up, when you create a new email (or reply to one) the "from" box will have grown a selector arrow at the far right where you can select which account you want the outgoing email to appear to have come from.

That's it's only cost you £6.08 and you have unlimited email addresses available to you. I use an identify able address with every company I register with.

You can let me know how you get on if you wish..


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