A colleague just sent me a link to Mailinator – a service for creating temporary mailboxes that are valid for just a few hours in order to receive (but not send) e-mail, e.g. when registering on a website and needing to see the initial registration e-mail, but wanting to guard against receiving unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE – more commonly known as spam) afterwards.
This is how the guys at Mailinator describe it:
“It’s like super-instant, always-ready, any-email-you-want email. Right now. It’s your personal disposable email account. Here is how it works: You are on the web, at a party, or talking to your favorite insurance salesman. Wherever you are, someone (or some webpage) asks for your email. You know if you give it, you’re gambling with your privacy. On the other hand, you do want at least one message from that person. The answer is to give them a mailinator address. You don’t need to sign-up. You just make it up on the spot[...] â€” pick anything you want.
Later, come to [the Mailinator] site and check that account. Its that easy. Mailinator accounts are created when mail arrives for them. No signup, no personal information, and when you’re done â€” you can walk away â€” an instant solution to one way spammers get your address. It’s an anti-spam solution for everyone. Your temporary email account will be automatically deleted for you after a few hours.
I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like a great idea!