What is an Email Alias?

What is an Email Alias?

An alias is an alternate, fictitious name, generally adopted by a person as an assumed identity. In common parlance, an alias is sometimes expressed as an “a.k.a.”—“also known as,” for example, “Clark Kent, a.k.a. Superman.”

In the world of email, an alias is an alternate email address, generally used to protect one’s primary email address from online abuse. A ManyMe email address is therefore an alias address, used to protect your privacy by providing substitute email identities, as alternatives to using your primary email address. The name ManyMe is intended to convey this notion of multiple on-line identities.

Email aliases are sometimes thought of as “disposable email addresses” or “temp email,” but this is not the case with ManyMe. Because ManyMe provides simple controls over senders and addresses, ManyMe aliases can be used for long-term connections that last as long as you wish.

ManyMe refers to its aliases as FlyBy addresses, because they can be disclosed on the spur of the moment, or “on the fly,” whenever an address is needed. FlyBys take the form of your ManyMe username followed by a dot and a label (username.label@manyme.com), and every FlyBy must include a label to be valid.

The username is your unique “AKA,” and the label is a description that gives the address some recognizable context. For example, if a cashier in a store asks if you’d like your receipt via email, you might provide an address that includes the name of the store or the item you bought. For a financial institution, where more security is important, you might use a label that includes the name of the bank followed by random characters, creating what you might think of as an email address PIN. On a dating site, you might choose an alias that provides a hint of your personality. There are countless examples.

ManyMe gives you an unlimited number of FlyBys, so that you can use a different alias for every website registration and other purpose, whenever an address is needed online, and even offline in conversation or when filling out a paper form, for example, to enter a contest. The best practice is to never use the same address for two different purposes.

ManyMe aliases have other beneficial properties beyond privacy. For example, aliases give you much greater control over what gets into your email inbox. If you no longer want to receive email from a particular sender, it is easy to disable an address, and it’s instantly “hasta la vista, baby” for that sender. Of course, this isn’t practical if you only have a single address and don’t use aliases.

Stronger security is another advantage. When you disclose aliases that are related to the context of their use, as described earlier, it becomes simple to see if a sender is using an inappropriate alias to reach you; mismatches are a powerful clue that a message is fraudulent. To use the banking example from above, if a sender purporting to be your bank reaches you on an address without the “PIN,” the sender is easily recognized as an impostor and the message as a fake. There are many other security advantages, too; for more information please see our postings about phishing attacks and credential stuffing attacks.

Aliases have a long history in literature, where an alias is known as a “nom de plume” or pen name, as well as in film, the arts and more recently, technology, as “handles” (there is also a meaning in programming languages). George Orwell, the famous author, was the alias used by Eric Blair, and Mark Twain was the pen name used by Samuel Clemens. Polly Baker was the alias used by Benjamin Franklin when critiquing the double standards in society’s treatment of women. Marion Michael Morrison used the alias John Wayne. Diana, Princess of the Amazons, was Wonder Woman.

Act now to pick your ManyMe AKA, and start enjoying the benefits of greater privacy, stronger security, and unmatched control of your email inbox! If you have children, create accounts for them, too, to protect the life-time usability of their personal email address.