If you do much poking around the internet you end up getting lots of email. Your Spam filter works overtime anyway but then you also get a lot of things you are not interested in but that you legitimately had contact with. Maybe you ordered something or took a survey. Entities in cyber-space ask for and grab your email. Sometimes you just want them to have it for a limited period then you would prefer they no longer have it.
There are many strategies to minimize your footprint I don’t think the goal is to have as little of your information leak out there but to reduce getting hit with the equivalent of the magazines and paper flyers we have got in the mail for the last 4 decades. Just because you bought a pair of socks doesn’t mean you want a catalog every quarter.
Guard Your Email
Your email is your address on the internet. 10 years ago I developed a strategy to distribute email to companies and people and social sites in a controlled way. Here is what I do. I have my real and true personal email account, I have an old personal account that filled up from the early 90s forward. I have a Yahoo Premium account I pay $20/yr for and I have several work emails. I also use Google Apps and Google Groups to create alias emails that always come to me.
Use Temporary EMail Accounts That Easily Delete
The key weapon in my fight against overload is my Premium Yahoo account. You can do the same thing with some free accounts which I detail below. The reason I have kept this is because I can create temporary emails that live as long as I need them to. There is an option called disposable addresses that Yahoo provides. You select a unique prefix, like spamcheck, and it becomes the front part of your email. Then you use the interface to append a suffix to the named part of your account. So you can go to the walmart site and give them the email address firstname.lastname@example.org
This forwards all emails to your regular Yahoo account. You have the benefit of knowing who it came from and if they leaked it to groups that spam. You can delete it at any time making those emails to go into oblivion. All your emails are of the form email@example.com
There are sites like MailDrop, Spambox and MeltMail which can provide similar temporary emails. But they are a bit more restrictive in how they are deleted. I would likely use these free ones and I’m considering switching to cut my yearly cost but habit and moment die hard. I have some temporary emails that I have used for 10 years and some which I consider permanent, like my LinkedIn email. So far I have not found a free service that allows me this latitude but you can start protecting your email by sharing these temporary ones now.