Outlook.com also supports + aliases too, just like Gmail

Microsoft continues to update its Outlook.com service, and as well as the recently launched IMAP support, they have now borrowed a page out of Google's book and also added + aliases support for email, a feature discovered by Rafael Rivera of Within Windows.

For example, neobond+junk@outlook.com will land in my neobond@outlook.com inbox and allow me to filter email coming in off neobond+junk, which I could use to enter competitions or as a throw away address that I can filter directly to a folder or delete. Any and multiple combinations work after the + (as long as it's well formed) and lands in your primary email folder if you haven't set up any rules for the alias.

This feature also works with custom domain names used with Outlook, and the same feature can also be used on Gmail. This is not to be confused with an actual alias, which can also be setup through the Outlook.com's More mail settings page; aliases allow in and outbound mailing, while the + aliases are inbound only. In any case, it's a pretty cool feature that could be useful.

Source: Within Windows

Thanks ians18 for the News tip! 

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Hotmail had this feature for years, and so far as I'm aware it just continued unchanged into outlook.com, so there's no 'borrowing a page out of Gmail's book' involved. It's not an anti-spam measure - it just makes it possible to use the same account to receive mail from different sites and sort them automatically on arrival. I use the same account at TechNet, MSDN, Answers, Neowin, WordPress and many other sites. The address is never published, so there's little likelihood of it being spammed.

I'd say anecdotally that this works for less than half of websites. I've been trying it out for a year or two on a Google Apps domain, and there's a large number of sites that won't allow "+" when you sign up, and a disturbingly large number of sites that will allow it at signup, but then will fail to deliver emails, fail to let you ever actually log in, and so on. I've had to contact too many companies' support people to get my account info changed to ever suggest anyone else try "+" aliases again.

You actually can't set up aliases. You can just add additional new emails to your account.


Add an existing email address as a Microsoft account alias
This email address is already taken. Please try another.

I see this as a nice feature, but it shouldn't be used as a way to prevent someone from sending email to your real account you want to alias... All you need to do is scan all the emails and remove the +text until @ sign and you have the person's real address.

While this is neat, I still prefer real aliases with mail rules set on the newsletter domains. Most sites don't accept + symbols in the email address for obvious reasons.

#Michael said,
This is like 2-3 week old story...how come it is just making fpn now?

So because you've heard of it everyone else who reads this site should know too? I for one didn't so thanks Neowin!

SK said,

So because you've heard of it everyone else who reads this site should know too? I for one didn't so thanks Neowin!


Everyone should have known, it should have been posted to Neowin a long time ago! That's the point #Michael is trying to make and he's right imo!

Why would I sign up for a junk service with my first&lastname@outlook.com? If I have to sign up for junk, I want a disposable e-mail address that is in no way connected to me. The last thing I want to do is give away my real name to possible spamming companies. And you don't think they have bots that can run through an e-mail list and remove these . and + characters? Heck, I could do it in 1 minute in notepad with find/replace.

These large e-mail providers should be providing disposable e-mail accounts that can be generated on the fly if they really want to protect people against junk e-mail. Once you're done with the address you can dispose of it, or keep it for future use.

You need a domain. There you can create as many alias for your mail accout as you want from the control panel (be it on Gmail or Outlook).
Once you create an alias all the mail directed to that alias goes to your inbox, when you delete the alias the mail bounces off.

Implementing that feature without a custom domain would be somewhat infeasible since they could be stepping on potentially perfectly good mail addresses that other people might want to use later.

Still waiting for them to provide facility to merge accounts, which was promised when they removed linked accounts feature.

it's so easy to filter out whatever comes after the + and get the real address to spam. Nahhh real aliases are the only way to go.

Spicoli said,
The problem with having your filtering structure in the user part of the address is spammers will simply remove it.

If you want to filter spam then this is only really useful if used along with a real alias, removing the "+whatever" stuff is obviously trivial.

The problem Is you don't know ahead of time. You use a + address to ID a web site as the source but then some spammer gets all the addresses from that site and cleans them off.

True. I use a specific alias for sign ups along with a + for each service, and while I'm actually not getting spam it'd be the alias what I'd use to filter out all that stuff to a differente (spam) folder and then the + tag to classify the notifications on other (non spam) folders.

Smartasses that remove the + alias to try to spam my inbox get their stuff automatically redirected to the trashbin.

Just tried and sure enough this works, i wonder how many mailings lists/signups will allow a + sign though, seeing as its an easy way to filter their 'Important emails'?

But on google you can use the . anywhere in the name and it can be used as an alias. So peter.pan and pe.terpan ends in the same inbox

Now make all websites allow to send to these + aliases...
Every time I want to sign up to a suspicious service and tries this + alias thing it says that the email I entered is wrong.

Aliases are really cool: combine an actual alias with a "+" alias and you have right there a mail address you can use to sign up on online services without giving away your real address and without needing several different mail accounts.

I've been using that with Gmail for a while and have since dropped all the fake accounts I used to dodge unwanted notifications and spam when signing up.

It's also interesting that using different "+" aliases for different services easily gives away which ones are the actual sources of spam and advertisement.

ichi said,
Aliases are really cool: combine an actual alias with a "+" alias and you have right there a mail address you can use to sign up on online services without giving away your real address and without needing several different mail accounts.

I've been using that with Gmail for a while and have since dropped all the fake accounts I used to dodge unwanted notifications and spam when signing up.

It's also interesting that using different "+" aliases for different services easily gives away which ones are the actual sources of spam and advertisement.

A lot of sites won't let you do this, but it is a nice feature.

Tony. said,

A lot of sites won't let you do this, but it is a nice feature.


For those that don't let you, there's good old spamgourmet.com.

thesitename.5.username@spamgourmet.com = max 5 mails will be allowed from that site (registration confirmations, etc), which will get redirected to your real one. The rest won't be forwarded.

Like above, this method will also reveal who's spamming since you're free to pick the "tag" as you wish.

I like the site especially since you once again won't need a "trash account" anywhere.

Shadowzz said,
How would it stop them from finding out your email address? Just regex the part from + to @ away?

It doesn't, that's why I said "combine an alias with a + alias". That way they can only find the alias, which can be filtered to the spam folder for every mail that removed the + alias.

It used to mine also - until I was forced to give Microsoft my phone number (I could always hit the "skip" button when that annoying page came up for its 2-step verification); then all of the sudden I've been getting junk mail when before I had none!

Yes, Yes I am. I never got spam until I handed Microsoft over my phone number - how the h*** that connects I have no idea; I just know that after doing that I now get spam in in mail (whereas before I never ever got spam - I didn't use that account as my spam account).

I know I seriously dislike it as I never used it to sign up to forums, newsletters etc (and by all means, tell me all alternatives that could have caused spam being sent to me, despite no one except Microsoft and my immediate family knew my email address)

Thanks for enlightening a non-technical person; I scan my parents computer irregularly ...guess I'll have to do it again *sigh*

I just find it kinda unlikely that Microsoft actively shares information with advertisers, considering they have corporate clients on the same system, and if they pulled THAT off they'd **** off a lot of no-nonsense companies.

Remember too that a lot of spam is randomly guessing at email addresses until one doesn't return 'Delivery failure', at which point it gets added to the spammer's database. For example, I routinely get spam where all the addresses in the To field have combinations of b__________@<some_provider>.com, and of course my address starts with a b too.

Tigurinn said,
It used to mine also - until I was forced to give Microsoft my phone number (I could always hit the "skip" button when that annoying page came up for its 2-step verification); then all of the sudden I've been getting junk mail when before I had none!

Maybe that used to be a requirement, but you don't have to enter a phone number. You must fill in 2 of the 3 available options (phone, alternate email, secret question).... if you don't want phone, then just give an alternate email and secret question.