We are actually in the business of detecting temporary email and blocking fake email. But this also means we know the disposable email market inside out. We have seen all the providers and read every discussion on the topic, be it on HackerNews or Reddit. So we know why disposable email services exist – and why people use them. Here’s a comprehensive list of reasons to use temporary email. It can be helpful for you if
- a) You want to protect yourself using throwaway email. Check the list for our recommendations and possible alternatives.
- b) You want to block disposable email. See the list and check if you are a trustworthy email sender. Make sure you do not give your audience reasons to use disposable email. And then start using a disposable email checker.
Enough of an intro. Let’s dig in.
Reasons to use disposable email providers
Emails are traceable. They are just a small piece of information but can carry a lot more information when you connect them to different other data sources. There are data brokers that do exactly that. They create consumer profiles that can be astonishingly detailed. The brokers often make cross references between data obtained or bought from multiple sources using email addresses or other personal information.
Personal and work email addresses alike often contain PII like name and last name. Sometimes birthdate or year of birth. This is fine for talking to friends and trusted individuals. But many people do not feel like sharing this information with untrusted parties like a website they just discovered and want to sign up for.
Short term commitment
People, just like in interpersonal relationships, are often not ready to commit long term to a third party they barely know. Think about a website they just want to try out. They don’t trust that unsubscribe link will be there to cut ties in the future. And they fear their data might end up in channels they cannot control. Instead they want to be in control over when to end the relation. A disposable email address can do that.
Protection from political prosecution
There are countries on this planet where it is not safe to say anything you want. Dictators and oppressive governments are very selective with what they like be reported on and what opinions they allow to be exchanged. People use anonymous email services or burner email providers to send messages that can not be linked back to their identity. This – without any exaggeration – can be a life saving strategy.
Most disposable email services do not allow sending but some do. Onetime-Mail is one such service that can send messages.
Fear of spam
Some people, when they sign up for a website e.g. to read a members only article, try out a service or receive a free ebook – they automatically think about spam. They fear the site owner may either sell their address to some shady third party or maybe engage in spam themselves. Even if the messages owners send are not actual spam – recipients can perceive them as such. These people turn to trash email services in order to get that thing they want and never want to hear from the publisher again.
Its 2023 – everybody is receiving way too many email messages. You know it, we all know it. You subscribe to a service – and then they start rolling in. You get a welcome email. Then an onboarding email sequence of five emails. Then they ask your feedback. Twice. Then they change their terms every other week. Then it’s Black Friday and they remind you of it every day, two weeks in advance. Then come the special offers. It never ends. And even if the service is relevant for you its just too much. So yes, people use a temporary email that will just work once or twice but not add to that inbox overload for the next weeks or months until they finally click that unsubscribe link.
Security breach isolation
When hackers attack a company’s infrastructure they are sometimes take user data . People sometimes decide to use disposable addresses so that all of their accounts are isolated from each other. Data obtained in a breach in one service does not put other accounts at risk when they do not share the address. While this strategy works, users can also mitigate the risk by using different usernames and strong and different passwords for each service.
Some software developers and quality assurance people turn to temporary email services to test their software. The idea is to use a ‘real’ address that has not been used before and test some functionality that includes sending an email. There are alternatives that are way better suited for this task – but not everybody knows about them. If you are a dev or tester: check out services like Mailtrap or MailHog and level up your email testing game.
So you know a secret. And you think someone else should know, too. But you want to keep your identity hidden for fear of retaliation. When using a temporary email and maybe other protective measures you can blow that whistle – without revealing who you are.
Contacting bad actors or untrusted parties (like data brokers)
When people a shady data broker has their PII they can ask them to remove that data from their database. The thing is though, they can’t know if the broker will do so or simply ignore their request – or worse yet use the request to enrich the existing data. So sending a removal request from a throwaway address can be a solution here. If you are lucke they will remove your record. If you aren’t they may end up poisoning their data with a useless email.
Get free products
Content creator has become an actual job over the past years. Content creators typically have products they sell and smaller products that they give away for free in order use to attract an audience. Now there are people who, for of the above reasons, do not feel like sharing their email with the creator. They use a disposable address, get the goods and never hear from the creator again.
Most creators consider this unfair use. Simply because it breaks their model of marketing their products and growing an audience they can sell to later. Many creators have therefore opted to block temporary emails. But others haven’t. Gumroad for example is a service that is popular with creators. Fun fact: they don’t just not check for fake emails, they don’t even require email confirmation. (Don’t tell anyone you read that here.)
Go beyond limits of free plans on freemium services
Many web based services SaaS or AI based tools operate in a freemium model where they offer free and paid plans. The motivation is to demonstrate the usefulness of their product to interested customers. Usually the hope is that at some point in the future a free user can be converted into a paying subscriber.
Free plans often have usage limits. Some people use temporary email addresses to create multiple free plans – so they get a multiple of the limits.
SaaS or AI businesses. consider this unfair use. Many choose to prevent free plan abuse by blocking fake email during signup using services like IsTempMail.
Extend free trials
This is another reason people use fake emails to signup at web based services. Bypassing the limits of free trials is similar to stretching the limits of free plans above. It works by creating a new account using a disposable email address every time the current trial account expires. This gives non-paying users paid features for a longer period than the intended evaluation period.
It is therefore considered unfair use by software service providers. The businesses often start avoiding free trial abuse by disallowing users to sign up using disposable email addresses.
Get promotions and deals
This is sometimes considered unfair use. However it is typically easy to put other safe guards in place to avoid multiple redemptions by the same person. Like matching shipping addresses or payment details. If a company does not do that – maybe they are just fine with people getting a deal multiple times.
When its a bad idea to use disposable email
You should never use a disposable email provider for online shopping. The account linked to the email is often . Some disposable email is public by design (like Mailinator‘s public inbox) others are just badly programmed and may allow third parties to access your disposable email. They effectively gain access to your shopping account and can manipulate shipping address or steal payment information. You do not want this.
More generally speaking than just e-commerce: you do not want to link throwaway email address to any account that has permission to do or cancel monetary transactions (be it fiat or crypto or whatever). Or an account that holds payment details. The nature of disposable email is just not secure for these purposes. There may be safe providers among the shady ones out there. But you’re never going to know.
Signup for a valuable service
Disposable email is unsuited for any service that will hold information that is valuable for you. Be it financial data or a list of friends or some content you wrote or collected. Using a temporary email can mean you lose access to that account at any given moment:
Services sometimes require all users to reset their passwords after a security incident. If they let you know up front you won’t know – because they are messaging to that disposable email that does not exist anymore.
You lose your password or need to change it because it appeared in a data breach – you will get a link to that disposable email. How do you click the link if that mailbox does not exist anymore?
Say you are using a free temporary email service that does not automatically delete inboxes and you plan to use it for a longer period of time. What if they go out of business or let go of one of their email domains that happens to be the one with your inbox? You’re screwed and it’s gonna be your fault.
Trust us or anyone who has ever been locked out of a service that meant something to them. You do not want that. Use a regular email address from a provider with a good reputation.
There are good reasons for people to use disposable email services. If you are more on the sending end of email communication please use this to understand how people feel about email these days.
Should you decide to block disposable email we have a pretty good service that does exactly that. Remember: if you get trusted with people’s addresses use them ethically or do not use them at all.
Get started with blocking temporary email. 200 free monthly checks are yours.