The problem with the gmail trick firstname.lastname@example.org is that it doesn't take a genius to work out that email@example.com is your main account.
There is another problem too firstname.lastname@example.org will be delivered too - even though it is not a real email address that you gave out.
It is only a matter of time before spammers attack this form of naming and the owners main address.
The good thing with gmail is that their spam filter is not too bad.
Yahoo premium accounts (not that I recommend them having just moved from them to gmail) have a much better scheme - it goes like this:
Main account: email@example.com
The user chooses a label and can create new email addresses manually within Yahoo mail in the form:
all mail is delivered to your inbox (or you can automatically direct it to a mail folder).
This has huge advantages over the gmail aliases:
- firstname.lastname@example.org is bounced (because the label-y alias hasn't been physically set up by the user)
- your main account name is not detectable because it is not included in the email address name
- if spam appears you simply delete the alias
- biggy - you can automatically reply from the alias address - so if you set up an alias with a user group and exchange emails you use the alias email address for incoming and outgoing mail.
The big disadvantages of yahoo mail (and the reason I gave up on the free premium account that my ISP provides) are that the user interface is clunky and buggy, the spam filter which is supposed to be trainable is extremely poor (it seems to filter more legitimate mail than spam), the volume of spam is huge because spammers use dictionary attacks on yahoo which yahoo fails to curb. The day my account was opened by my ISP I had spam in my inbox. The last one was the real deal breaker for me. Yahoo have a really stupid system that if you set up a user name like email@example.com it automatically creates an alias like firstname.lastname@example.org which is equivalent to the main id. The trouble is those ids are very easy to generate and spam.