The oldest trick in the book is the Gmail one where you do like:
And that still comes to my main email address (the one without the “+” and the extra text). Then if that gets leaked to spammers or whatever, I know what site it was, and I can set up a filter to block it. Theoretically anyway. If I was a spammer I’d know to rip that extra text off emails in order to be a more effective prick.
I imagine other email providers offer similar functionality.
But site-specific emails can get more exotic.
Jeff Starr is pretty committed to the idea and uses personally hosted email (at his own domain). That way, he can do the first part of the email entirely as site specific. His examples:
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Looks like he’s running multiple domains as well. And because he totally controls the email hosting and routing, it can still all get funneled to one place. I imagine it’s slightly tricker to also send from all those, but I also imagine that’s not even important here.
I appreciate the tenacity there, but despite being pretty into managing email, I’m not looking to take on that kind of technical debt. Mostly because I never have and it’s been fine (for me).
Firefox productizes this whole idea with Firefox Relay email masking.
Email masks are masked, or private, email addresses that forward messages to your true email address. These masks allow you to share an address with third parties which will mask your true email address and forward messages to it.
Most of the benefits with none of the technical debt (but some… organizational? mangement?) debt. Using Relay is also extra private as you’re not exposing a variation of your email or any domain name that you own, so really nothing leads back to you (unless some kind of data breach happens).
Apple productizes it as well (I think you need iCloud+) and they call it Hide My Email:
Hide My Email generates unique, random email addresses that automatically forward to your personal inbox. Each address is unique to you. You can read and respond directly to emails sent to these addresses and your personal email address is kept private.
I like the concept I just don’t really seem to need it. Clearly enough people do that it warrents these big tech players to have offerings.
The closest I get is newsletter-specific emails.