Microsoft has announced a new feature for Windows Live Hotmail that allows you to create and manage multiple e-mail aliases from a single account. The new aliasing feature makes it easy to use a different e-mail address without having to change your primary e-mail address and online identity. In short, the company knows you're creating temporary e-mail accounts that you end up ditching, and wants to make the process easier.
This is different than just adding a plus sign and a descriptive word to the first part of your e-mail address. Many users already do this when they sign up for websites (instead of using email@example.com to sign up for TechSpot, they use firstname.lastname@example.org) so that they can manage e-mails they receive from a given service. Unfortunately, the plus addresses still make it very easy to determine your actual e-mail address.
Microsoft has thus created e-mail aliases, which let you create completely different e-mail addresses that you can use to receive e-mail into your primary account without anyone knowing what your real e-mail address is. Once you're done, you can just turn the alias off, ensuring future unwanted messages that are sent to that alias don't go to your inbox. You can add up to five aliases per year to your Hotmail account, up to 15 aliases in total. These additional e-mail addresses require very little setup, as well as no extra log-ins or upkeep.
"The email address a person uses is a big part of their online identity," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. "The average person maintains three different email addresses in order to organize different types of email, maintain different personas, or keep junk mail away from a primary email address. So there are many good reasons that people want multiple email addresses, but maintaining multiple accounts, with different user names and passwords that require you to check multiple inboxes, is inefficient. With today's update, Hotmail helps you save time by making it easier to manage your current and future email addresses in one place."