What is a Disposable Email Address?

A disposable email address (DEA) is a pain to marketers and often an indication of fraudulent activity online. Alternatively, a DEA is just a way for a consumer to fight back against spam and bad opt-in protocols, or a good tool for developers to test software. You decide.

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Disposable Email Addresses are just what they say they are; email addresses that people use for a short time and then don’t use again. It’s possible to get a new email address and receive email within seconds, with no sign-ups, no contact details required and certainly no verification that the person using the email address is “real.” Many sites will activate and assign you a disposable email address from the second you access the site. Spooky huh?

All you need to get a disposable email address is an internet connection and very basic user skills. If you can use google, click, cut and paste you can be online receiving email to a brand new account really quickly; usually within less time than it takes to carry out an online transaction.

Don’t confuse DEAs with the free email accounts on offer from Email Service Providers such as Yahoo, Hotmail and GMX. The sites that offer DEAs are different. They are providing a service for people who want a throwaway email address that is used for a short period of time, or as a bucket address for marketing emails, so that a more important inbox stays “clean.”

Who provides email burners?

Some of the more well known providers of these time limited email addresses are Mailinator, slippery.email and guerillamail. There are others too. Search terms such as “throwaway email, one-off email, single-use email, burner email address,” all bring up results of a number of sites to get these DEAs from. If you take a look at these sites you’ll see how the email addresses can be offered with limited time; ten minutes, an hour.... That’s why DEAs are also known as “burners” they are email addresses that burn out quickly.

These email addresses aren’t illegal. However, here at Email Hippo when we validate email addresses we will highlight them as being bad, as in our experience (and we see over 10,000,000 email addresses a day) these addresses are more likely to be fraudulent or undeliverable than others.

If you are a marketer and you are seeing disposable email addresses on your mailing lists you ought to take action to remove them. We explain more about the reasons for that here.

Overall, disposable email addresses are easily available but if you are thinking of using one to remain incognito online, spare a thought or the fact that you might make yourself appear less trustworthy than if you were to use an ordinary email address.

For more reading about disposable email addresses, try these sources;

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Written by:

Rowland O'Connor

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2016