Email is a pain.
Yet, despite that most obvious of truths, it’s almost impossible to use the internet without an email account. Or, realistically, several accounts. You need one for work, one for your personal life, and at least one for all the garbage “confirmation email” signups that most sites now require. But there’s a trick — something those in the know have been doing for years — to make your time online less of a depressing slog of clicks and spam: burner emails.
Unlike a straight up fake email address (hello firstname.lastname@example.org) that you made up on the spot while filling out an online form, a burner email is a real account that you can actually check. It has the benefit, however, of not being explicitly tied to your name or other online accounts. In addition, it has the clutch aspect of keeping that aforementioned spam as far away from your real inbox as possible.
But how to do it quickly? Going through the process of creating a new Gmail account, say, every time you need to hit a “click to activate” link found in an incoming email is annoying. (Although, you can create a Gmail account without providing a real email address or phone number for confirmation.)
Thankfully, there is an entire host of free services online that allow you to create a temporary email inbox with the click of a single button. Notably, these services should not be used for anything private or confidential. Also, importantly, this is not an instructional manual on how to create anonymous email accounts 100 percent disconnected from your real world identity — so don’t get all excited about the digital crime spree you’re about to go on.
Instead, this is about streamlining your daily internet life. And so, in the spirit of single clicking your way to burner account freedom, allow me to introduce you to the concept of 10 minute mail.
Although the exact amount of time differs per service, the general idea is the same: A single click creates an email inbox for a limited amount of time. The inbox is automatically open for the receipt (and often only receipt) of emails. After the set time period, the email address and its associated inbox’s contents expire.
One such service, 10MinuteMail, allows you to add an additional 10 minutes to the life of the account should you feel like it.
There are scores of other similar sites like 10MinuteMail (just search for “10 minute mail” on Google).
A related, but slightly different service, called Maildrop allows you to choose your own address (hello email@example.com). However, anyone can view the inbox in question if they happen to have or guess the email address associated with it — or if it is linked, say, in a Mashable article.
Like we said, don’t use these services for anything private or sensitive. But hey, when you just quickly need a throwaway email address for some random internet bullshit, burner email accounts have you covered.