Thursday, March 27, 2008

Introducing: Alternate Inbox Names

Mailinator helps thousands of people every day avoid spam. It's been a great success.

One point that always sort of bothered me however was that by giving out a Mailinator address, you were basically telling people not only how to email you, but also how they can check *your* email. If I say "Email me at", the whole world knows where to send and read my email!

Well, this is no longer a problem. Today we added "Alternate Inboxes" to Mailinator. We've always had alternate domains, but this is quite different.

Now, if you check any inbox on Mailinator (say, binkypop), listed on the page is the alternate inbox name. All alternate inbox names start with "M8R-". For example, for binkypop, the alternate inbox name is

So simply put, if you email binkypop@mailinator OR it doesn't matter. Both emails would end up in the binkypop inbox (and nothing in the
M8R-yg1hkn inbox). The only way to find out an alternate inbox name is to check the inbox here first - thus if you give out the alternate address, there is no way for anyone to guess that it actually goes to binkypop.

So.. pick yourself a favorite Mailinator inbox name (make it big, long, and hard-to-guess please!), go check the inbox to find out the alternate inbox name, and hand it out all over the web (of course, alternate domains work on alternate inboxes too!).

Then check the box (or RSS it) knowing only you know thats the real destination. Also, keep in mind - you don't have to remember the alternate inbox name ever - you just have to remember the real destination address. You can always go to Mailinator and get the alternate anytime just by checking the inbox. And of course, the regular think-up-on-the-fly-and-use Mailinator you know and love hasn't changed a bit. This feature is purely optional (I'm surprised how fast people started using it!)

(This feature is in beta and we might end up changing the alternate address scheme some)

This is cool. Alternate inboxes really do up the ante in Mailinator's spam fighting abilities. Enjoy !



This alternate inbox scheme sounds great!

Any additional functionality which exhibits the same frictionless MO that M8R is already known for, is a big win for all users.

In one word, this is M8R-brilliant !

Paul, ever since I started reading Mailinator blog, I havent seized being amazed. It is refreshing and a breath of fresh air.

Excellent update on the Mailinator app.


Great Idea !!

Hi Mailinator guy.
Great new feature.
By the way, I would love to use an RSS feed to check my mailinator inbox.
But I can't with my RSS reader which is my Internet Explorer browser.
When I tried to load the feed from Mailnator I get this message
"Internet Explorer cannot display this feed. Internet Explorer does not support feeds with DTDs."
Thought you should know.

Hello Paul! Alternate addresses... wow, that's cool!

It's amazing how you still strive to improve this service. I don't know how to tell it in english, but in greek I'd say that you have "μεράκι" :D (there is no exact translation, I'm afraid... probably it means "passion for what you are doing and the will and the patience to make it as good as you can").

This is the first time I write here, but I've always wanted to say a big "thank you" for mailinator.

You've saved me (and thousands of other users) of the pain of having multiple secondary e-mail addresses for the sole purpose of registration or for untrusted parties. And you've saved my mailbox from loads of spam, too! So... thank you!


But, this is just like a normal E-mail inbox, except that anyone could read it if they simply guessed your 'username'.

This is brilliant. I would not have thought of this. Bravo.

neato. would it be possible to make the REVERSE work? I don't care what URL or feed I use to see the mail, but I'd like my (long and unlikely to be duplicated) address I give out to be somewhat meaningful.

Also, what about all my m8r-foobar@mailinator addresses? Do they still work?

Paul! Am8zing! A great add for an already great service.

Can I send you a case of beer?

Best thing -- this is allow me to copypaste current mailinator mailbox adress with "@mailinator" attached from inside my current mailbox page. Thanks!

It would be great if "Inbox for: qwertyu" would look like:

"Inbox for:"

or with variants, somewhere on same page, ready for copy/paste:

"Inbox for:"

Hello there,

Well, this feature is the straw that breaks the camel's back ! I now have to leave this message and tell you how awesome Mailinator is.

Thanks a lot, and keep up the good work :)


Can you make the REVERSE work? I want to give out my long funny address, not the m8r-fhfhs...

Holy crap this is an awesome feature. Thanks!

Might be a bit hard to discover for some people, as the What's This link points to the blog, and some less-techie types might glaze over when reading about the volatility of Java.


Thanks for providing this great service !

About this alternate inbox scheme ... I think it would be more 'natural' to reverse this one.
In your example: "Email me at", will become "Email me at M8R-yg1hkn".
Yeah right, not a very nice name to leave. Wouldn't it be prettier to leave "Email me at" ?

We, ourselves should check before (just as we have to do now) our Only this should have a real INBOX then, NOT the



wow this is a great idea.
now I can use my own favourite mailinator id.

Great new feature for an excellent service!

Some of you might be missing the point... mailinator is for spam. The point is to have a meaningful address to help YOU remember... why does a spambot need a meaningful email addy? Reversing the alternate inbox scheme is more like a registration-based vanity email service, of which there are plenty already!

Dear Mr. Mailinator,

You rock.

I'd also like to vote for the reverse service, though I understand it's way harder. Presumably, the xxx name is just a hash of the user name which is calculated on the fly when the user checks mail? That doesn't seem to have a backwards analog. Though you might consider instead of a 1-way hash, instead using a 2-way encryption. Then when user logs in you could grab the mail from "user" and "decrypted user".

And even keeping the current hash scheme, would it be possible to calculated a long, say 256 bit, hash key and split it into 8 32-bit hash names. So one user gets 8 different mailboxes?

Whatever, it's great the way it is. I'd pay good money for pop access to mailboxes here. :)


In my opinion, this is very clever and innovative.

Nice job.

I can only agree to all previous posts. Ingenious. Keep up the good work!

I <3 mailinator!

Thanks so much for your hard work!

I bothered to click at the Post a cOmment link only to say THIS IS EXCELLENT!!!!

Fantastic idea, well done people!

Mark, Ireland

Yeah - good one mate - great service this - keep it up (please!)
Steve - New Zealand

sound great, you did such a great thing, guy


exelent i love it! thanks

This is a fantastic idea. Thank you!!

thank you very much Paul

This is really great Paul!!

Hey, excellent idea.
For my information, what's the hash algorithm that you use?

I suppose I'm being dense here, but something about this alternate inbox name doesn't make sense. I just put in my username - without logging in with my password - and it gave me my alternate box name. How does that protect me? If that alternate name is given after I put in my password, that's a great idea, but anyone can get the alternate name as I did w/o pw. Did I miss something?


Guy above me : Yes you did.

When you sign up to whatever site, you use your alternate email address to sign up with that site. Thus, when I try to read your email, I only have your alternate address, which means that I can't access your mailbox, as I need your primary address to login.

I'm not sure this blog is the right place to air improvements & suggestions- even relevant ones- if you look on the mailinator homepage, you'll find a the creator has an "@mailinator" address himself. That would be a more tactful & diplomatic way to pursue your query/idea, after all we're being provided with a very useful free service, no? Just a thought! :)

Mailinator was already a great idea.

I've seen the "what's this?" link next to the "Alternate Address for this Inbox:" line a few times, but never clicked it until this visit! Dohhh..

I've been reading about talkinator too, and will probably be testing it out soon. Plus I plan on mentioning your creations to everyone I know who may find them useful.

Thank you very much for providing these useful, no-hassle, free services to people! My hat's off to you and others like you, your generosity speaks for itself.

Is there any way of recovering the original address? I gave the M8R-xxxxx@mailinator address and wrote it down but forgot the original simple name. Now going to M8R-xxxxx does not allow me to view the mailbox. Doh.

Is there any way of recovering the original address?

No, that's the whole point. If you could recover it, so could everyone else.

Thanx men u da bomb
Paul 4 Prezident!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Awesome service. Thanks!!

simple yet great!


Dude, you guys F*K*ING ROCK!!!! Mailinator has been a God-send. Thank you so much for such a great service. Is there a way to donate to the site for maintenance costs?

How does it work?

Do you keep a dbtable to translate between the pretty name and the m8r-address?

If not, how is it possible to hash the pretty name to a 6 letter name without having occasional collisions (e.g two addresses sharing the same m8r-name).

To user above me:
As long as the generation algorithm has a good statistical spread,
and taking into account that the length of the string is 6 chars = 2.2 billion different addresses, it seems rather difficult for typed mail addresses to collide.

Surely not *occasional*, simply *probable*.

After all, it is mentioned that the feature is beta and the scheme may sometime be altered. ;)

1st of all: its great.
2nd: nothing has to be changed.

but I got 1 question:

I have a user name & an alternate address corresponding to it.

but if sm1 (say my friend) make my alternate address as her "pretty address",
she too gets an alternate add.

now, if she gives out her "pretty address" (which is my alternate address) to everyone, and people start mailing her, wouldn't it be me who get all those mails?.. and at the same time, wouldn't she be missing all her mails?!

or.. is ther any rule that says: ur pretty add shouldn't contain M8R as prefix?
if ther is a rule like that, then wouldn't HER alternate address fetch her all her mails?

nice 1 men

Great stuff!

Thank you so much for the Alt feature, I just love it!

New and interesting feature indeed. It makes sense.

It would be nice if, say I like to use the front portion of my gmail address as a default mailinator account, to have a consistent M8R assigning pattern so that way I'm just memorizing the M8R prefix, so I avoid having to "login" (although that doesn't take that long)into a mailinator account to get a M8R number. I suppose this is lesser security would be more convenient. Either way your product ROCKS!!! and this beta feature works ultraswell.

This is great, my friend!
It's awesomely great!
Fantastic. Magnifico!
Thanks for developing this kind of program.

God bless always...

awesome feature. thank you :)

Thank you. Your service is very helpful.

F**kn Wicked! Thank you. I had no clue about the ability existing to also check one's email. That sucks.

I would say..yeah.. having the ability to check anybody's mail is beyond a flaw. Thanx for creating this. Now I just have to go and change the address at all those wonderfully supposedly private sites I left the addy at

good idea

Can't thank you enough for this. I've been using mailinator since seeing it featured on local TV news. It was already a great idea back then -- long before the alternative address feature was added -- it's even better now !

I am reluctant to register at some places. With Mailinator now I know I can. Thank you sooo very much Mailinator, you made my day!

Thank you so much! :)

Could you maybe add a reply feature? It might be useful.

Why am i redirected to the abuse page all the time?

This is a great new addition to an already great service!

thanks dude, YOU ROCK!!!

Best update on mailinator. Best update ever had in any web based mail program.

Im very proud of this!

Totally awesome!

Keep up the good work!!!

Proud of folks like you!

Wow... that's great... thanks a lot dude, that's what I needed!

Uh, I don't get it. Do I use the Mailinator email address? Or the alternate?

i use this to refeller my sely in neobux,rupeemail,'s grt

very cool feature! keep it up!

This is best thing since the slice of Apple Pie

The best Place on the whole www...
And the only place to hide junk mail that we all hate ..

wow! really cool feature!

Wow, THANK YOU for this really cool and brilliant way to have disposable emails! :))))) So tired of spammers, this rocks! :) and the alternate address thing, sheer genius. :D

BTW, you should add something like the "buy me a beer" or "Buy me a coffee" button so people can send you a little appreciation gift now and then. :)

Really useful. Thanks



I love

Though I can't say I have much use for your service:
Seems to me you are a very giving and decent person, ESPECIALLY to and for those who have, ah, particularly licit reasons for using mailinator.

So, presuming you are a good guy and not a super-spook :-)....
you merit enormous repayment from "the universe," however you might phrase it.

Good on you, and good things to you. One wonders if you comprehensively appreciate the enormity of your potential. Whew!

Thank you!

Mailinator is a stroke of genius.

I have a question however: since it appears that the alternate inbox is a hash scheme, what do you do to prevent conflicts? Can 2 users have the same M8R- mailbox?

But let me re-iterate, Mailinator is a great idea.

Alt inbox names works for me. Nice one.

A User


Awesome job!

REALLY cool. Many thanks for creating this!

This is just AWESOME. Thank you!

Nice! Good!

I guess Im the only one that can read this and still dont know what the hell it means

This is great!

You, good sir, are a positive legend for offering this service. Amd I still cannot believe it's still going, profitable enough to cover your costs. As I said, legendary! This site ought to go down in history like the googles, youtubes and website pop-ups before it!

Thank You for this wonderful service.

Bye bye to spam and mail harvestors

Thanks very much for this extra level of privacy we can now enjoy.

Bloody brilliant! Thanks1

Mailinator thank you we are all in debt to you for having such a wonderful website haha :D

Not enough words to say how amazing mailinator is. Thanks for all your hard work. Cheers

That's a very Nice Feature added to Mailinator. Its a Great way of Saving thousands of peoples' Email from being Publicly viewed

Let hem eat (more) spam!!!

REally Really nice! One slight help might be to allow the alternate address to be added to the chrome widget (as the alternate addresses are hard to remember) I suppose you could alsoallow for custom choice of alt address, but that would pose problems for duplicate checking and whatnot that I thing would be more difficult than its worth. Anyway, FANTASTIC job, fantastic service, Thank you so much!

cool shiet!

Although points to, you can use that email address so nobody can guess that it goes to binkypop or without knowledge about Mailinator.



This is an awesome, awesome feature. For people like myself who use this service to sign up to services without revealing either their real email address, nor that they are using a disposable one, this gives an extra layer of security and privacy.

Highly recommended!

Do you have an Amazon wishlist or something where we can show some appreciation?

awesome job guys. kepp up the good work!

Very happy with mailinator. Re alternate addresses, would be great if the email addresses were reversed- the "word address you choose" could be checked using the "encrypted address provided by mailinator" This would make remembering the email address you give out easier.

Sweet trapdoor function, bro.

Now that's a great idea. Now I can give alternative mail id to anyone without worrying.

I really like the idea of reversing the M8R and the real identities. That way, I give out, "" but must check "M8R-K326@mailinator" < fictitious >, which my browser or lastpass remembers.

Am I missing something?

I handed out the alternate email address, and got the email in the mailinator account on which it was based. But I was also able to read the email on mailinator using the alternate address.

So while it's true that who ever I handed the alternate address to can't see the email address from which the alternate is generated, it doesn't matter because they can read the emails anyway.

Or am I missing the point?

Thanks for that

Thank you very much