Alias is one feature that is unique to Outlook.com, a feature that was added to Hotmail in early 2011, but became “news” only after the name change when Microsoft made the feature easier to find and use. Aliases are alternate email addresses that are linked to the primary email inbox, designed to let you segregate certain email tasks from your main account. They can also be used as throwaway addresses when you don’t want to give away your primary account name to newsletters or shopping sites that might misuse your address. When the spam starts coming in, you can just delete the alias.
Google’s Gmail also supports alias, but of a different kind. In Gmail, you can add “+alias” to your email ID and still receive messages sent to the alias in your inbox. For example, messages sent to email@example.com are delivered to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can set up filters to automatically direct these messages to Trash, apply a label or star, skip the inbox, or forward to another email account. “+” aliases also helps you identify which website is misusing or selling your email address when you start receiving spam.
The advantage of using the “+” email alias, is that they can created on the fly without pre-configuration. Also, you aren’t limited to only 5 alias per year like Outlook.com.
But there are downsides to “+” aliases. You are still exposing your real email ID when you use an alias to signup to newsletters or websites. Spammers and email harvesting programs have learnt to disregard the “+alias” part and extract your real email ID. Besides, you can’t delete them, so you will continue receiving spam.
Despite the obvious drawbacks, “+” alias is an attractive option. That’s why Microsoft has started adopting it for Outlook.com.
Like Gmail, “+” alias for Outlook.com just works – mails sent to email@example.com are delivered to firstname.lastname@example.org without any additional configuration. You can now set up rules to put these emails into separate folders or delete them on receipt